Listen&Learn: The Town With One Resident

Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about Monowi, Nebraska – a town with a population of one.
Monowi

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • population: the amount of people living in an area
  • ghost town: a town that has been completely abandoned
  • mayor: the leader of a town or city
  • taxes: money paid to a government
  • eligible: qualified to do or receive something
  • tavern: a public building where people can buy and drink alcohol

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Monowi, Nebraska is a small town that once had a population of about 150. Today, it is almost a ghost town. There is only one person who lives there: a in her eighties named Elsie Eiler. She is the town’s mayor, bartender, and . For Monowi to be recognized as an official town, Eiler has to create city and pay taxes to herself. As long as she completes these tasks as mayor, the town is eligible to get money from the state for roads and . When Eiler is not working as Monowi’s mayor, she runs a small tavern where people from other towns visit during the day. She also owns a large book collection that all visitors are allowed to borrow from. Living in a town all alone may seem sad to some people, but Eiler says that she is not . She believes Monowi to be her home, and she gets to see visitors often.

Comprehension questions

1. Officially, Monowi is

Correct! Wrong!

Officially, Monowi is a small town.

2. Eiler makes city plans because

Correct! Wrong!

Eiler makes city plans because she wants Monowi to be eligible for state money.

3. Eiler is happy living in Monowi because

Correct! Wrong!

Eiler is happy living in Monowi because she gets to see visitors often.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Have you ever been to a ghost town? If so, what were some interesting things you got to see?
  2. The population of Monowi began to shrink in the 1950s. This was because its residents were struggling with money after World War II, and they needed to find work somewhere else. What are some other reasons why people might abandon a town?

Transcript

Monowi, Nebraska is a small town that once had a population of about 150. Today, it is almost a ghost town. There is only one person who lives there: a woman in her eighties named Elsie Eiler. She is the town’s mayor, bartender, and librarian. For Monowi to be recognized as an official town, Eiler has to create city plans and pay taxes to herself. As long as she completes these tasks as mayor, the town is eligible to get money from the state for roads and electricity. When Eiler is not working as Monowi’s mayor, she runs a small tavern where people from other towns visit during the day. She also owns a large book collection that all visitors are allowed to borrow from. Living in a town all alone may seem sad to some people, but Eiler says that she is not lonely. She believes Monowi to be her home, and she gets to see visitors often. 

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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