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World's Strangest Towns

World's Strangest Towns: Monowi, NE

Tom McLaughlin

Monowi, NE

Everyone in town knows the name Elsie Eiler, and it’s not just because she’s the mayor—she’s the sole resident. The population had been diminishing since the 1930s, when this northern Nebraskan town had 150 residents, and by 2000, it was down to one couple: Elsie and her husband, Rudy, who has since passed away. Now in her mid-70s, Eiler serves beer at the Monowi Tavern (with an official liquor license) and turned her late husband’s collection of 5,000 books into a one-room public library.

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