Abandoned houses, haunted lanes, uninhabited wilderness,one woman town or Monowi, population 1 may be the common expressions to describe America's small village Monowi, located in the U.S. state of Nebraska, but the place reflects a lot more about the change the rural American society has gone through in the twentieth century.
At its peak in the 1930's the town had 150 residents but after the railroad, which ran from Norfolk, Nebraska, to Winner, South Dakota, was shut in 1971, it began to decline. Monowi was a farmers village but mechanisation after World War II affected their businesses and the young began to migrate to cities for work. The migration with the declining rural economies over the last 60 years is considered the largest in American history.
Elsie Eiler, 77, is the sole surviving resident of Monowi village making it the only incorporated town, village or city in the United States with only one resident. Until 2001, Monowi's population was two when her husband, Rudy, was alive. But what Rudy left behind as a dream, is now a 5,000 book library attracting visitors, passersby, truck drivers and tourists. There is a tavern too where they eat and enjoy cold beer. The tavern is the town's only business run by Elsie Eiler.
Monowi, which was founded by European immigrants in 1902, has ruins all around. The village tells a poignant tale of a city that once thrived well. And as human habitation is almost close to an end, what will happen to the village library, remains to be seen.
Discover Monowi in some of the pictures below:
Fan Gang, director of China`s National Institute of Economic Research, listens during an interview in Hong Kong October 25, 2007. REUTERS