Nebraska is a state made up of just a few cities…and what seems like a thousand small towns. While everyone seems to have a different definition of “small” when it comes to population, we can all agree that these super-tiny Nebraska towns have definitely earned that description. In these places, it would be virtually impossible not to know the names of everyone in town. (Note that, while there are lots of unincorporated communities with smaller populations in Nebraska, this list includes only officially designated towns and villages.)
Moorefield is home to 32 people. The Frontier County town had a peak population of around 200 between 1925 and 1940, but the population shrank as improved transportation made it possible for people to get supplies from neighboring towns.
This Logan County village boasts a population of 31. Once a rough-and-tumble frontier town, Gandy is where the notorious robber and murderer "Parker" was captured in the late 19th century by Sheriff Doan.
Thirty people reside in this York County village. A magazine article published in 1960 proclaimed the cemetery here to be the smallest National Cemetery in the country. The Lushton Cemetery is actually not a designated National Cemetery but does hold the graves of 24 soldiers who died in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and both World Wars.
With a name derived from the Spanish word for "green," you know this Knox County village of 30 residents is full of natural beauty. The town may be quieter and less busy than it once was, but residents still retain their town pride.
Thirty people call Cowles home. The tiny Webster County village was named for a railroad official back in the late 1800s. Cowles was a popular recreation spot back in the 1920s. There was even a special train between Hastings and Cowles to bring weekend visitors over.
The 28 people who call Strang home are very proud of their little part of Fillmore County. The town is home to many historic buildings that are still in use today. After being called Media and then Bixby, Strang acquired its current name when A.L. Strang donated a windmill and water pump in 1886. The windmill is still standing today.
With 25 residents, Stockville is a little less busy now than it was in its heyday. As the county seat of Frontier County, it has been an important place since the late 19th century. Frank B. Morrison, governor of Nebraska from 1961 to 1967, was born in Stockville.
With just 23 residents, Lamar is a scrappy little Chase County town. It was once called Allentown after A.S. Allen, the first settler there. Other people in the town disliked the name, so they redubbed the town Lenox - a name they got from a box of soap. Later, a town site was laid out just southeast of Lenox by the Burlington Railroad. Wanting the benefits that a railroad would bring their town, the residents of Lenox all picked up and moved to the new location, now called Lamar. In the end, the railroad tracks never did come.
Brewster was named for George Washington Brewster, a homesteader whose ancestors arrived in America on the Mayflower. G.W. Brewster expected the town to become the state's capital thanks to its central location, but that expectation was never realized. Instead, Brewster is home to 18 people and is the county seat of Blaine County. Uncle Buck's Lodge is Brewster's one-of-a-kind lodging and dining experience - one that you should definitely check out the next time you're in the area.
Located in Keya Paha County, Burton has a population of 10 - but it wasn't always so small. In the early 20th century, Burton was the second largest town in the county. The double disasters of the Great Depression and WWII caused just about everyone to leave Burton for somewhere with jobs to give.
Gross clocks in with a population of just two people. The Boyd County town was once home to a box factory, a cheese factory, and around 600 people. A devastating fire more than 100 years ago caused many to move away, and the population never rebounded. Today, the town's two residents operate the Nebrask Inn, a burger restaurant that's popular with people in surrounding communities.
Of course, no list of small Nebraska towns would be complete without the ultra-tiny Monowi. It's the only incorporated town in the U.S. with a population of just one person. Stop by Elsie's Tavern for a sandwich and a beer, then ask for the key to the library. The 5,000 volume Rudy's Library is dedicated to the memory of Elsie's husband.
Most of these towns used to have far more residents; for one reason or another, the populations shrank over time. But in true Nebraska spirit, the residents who remain are unflinchingly loyal to their homes and wouldn’t live anywhere else.