Woman, 89, Is the Only Resident in This Tiny Town — She Even Pays Taxes to Herself

2 months ago

There was quite a celebration in Monowi, Nebraska. Even though the town’s population is just one, it felt like the whole world showed up to honor the incredible milestone of its only resident. Let’s see what happened.

The Monowi Tavern, nestled just off Highway 12, was the heart of the festivities.

People were digging into juicy burgers, savory beans, and mouthwatering cake as they soaked in the lively atmosphere. Elsie Eiler, the spirited 90-year-old who runs the place, shared her thoughts on what makes the tavern special. “It’s a bar and grill, I would call it,” she says with a smile.

“I do quite a lot of cooking the last couple of year. It’s a bar and a meeting place for everybody. There’s (a) toy box under the TV for all of the little kids that come in, and it’s just a community meeting I guess you would say,” she adds, her eyes sparkling with pride.

In Monowi, where everyone knows everyone, the Monowi Tavern isn’t just a business—it’s the heart and soul of the town.

Elsie Eiler and her late husband Rudy took over the tavern five decades ago, and ever since then, Elsie has been flipping burgers and frying up fries for the locals. Situated in a sparsely-populated area roughly 90 miles northwest of Norfolk, near the South Dakota border, the tavern stands out as a cozy spot, especially since the closest restaurants are more than a dozen miles away.

In the beginning, business was slow, Elsie remembers. She explained that it took a while for people to start coming because, well, they have to drive to get there. She adds, “And if you find the place locked up a couple of times, you might not want to come back.” Determined to make it work, Elsie and Rudy made sure that one of them was always around.

Since Rudy passed away in 2004, Elsie has been running the show solo, but the customers keep coming.

Despite its simple setup with a classic wooden bar and just a few tables, around 50 folks swing by the tavern every day, attracted by the friendly atmosphere and Elsie’s dedication to serving up delicious food with a side of hospitality.

Boyd County Sheriff Chuck Wrede is a regular at the tavern, calling it a hub for local law enforcement meetings. They gather monthly for intel sessions, inviting different folks to discuss matters. Elsie has been hosting these gatherings for years, but on her 50th anniversary at the tavern, Sheriff Wrede and neighboring Knox County Sheriff Don Henery decided to switch things up by treating Elsie instead.

Nebraska State Patrol Superintendent John Bolduc also attended to celebrate with Elsie, emphasizing her significance to the community. The celebration, originally planned as a surprise, amused Elsie, who expressed relief at not being caught off guard. She feels honored by the support from law enforcement, acknowledging their swift response in times of trouble.

The celebration drew not only law enforcement, but also others like Jeff Uhlir, a local farmer who enjoys gathering at the tavern for euchre tournaments. He believes in cherishing memories in a place like Monowi, recognizing its transient nature.

Way to go, Mrs. Eiler!

Elsie Eiler’s story is nothing short of inspiring. Her dedication to running the Monowi Tavern for half a century, single-handedly and with unwavering commitment, is a testament to her resilience and love for her community. Not only has she provided a warm and welcoming gathering place for locals and visitors alike, but she has also fostered strong relationships with law enforcement and other community members, making the tavern a true centerpiece of Monowi’s identity.

Elsie’s humility and gratitude shine through as she expresses her appreciation for the support she receives. Her spirit embodies the essence of small-town hospitality and reminds us of the importance of cherishing and supporting local establishments. Cheers to Elsie Eiler, a true hometown hero!


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