14 Smallest Towns in America
Each state has its own quaint towns only populated by a few hundred people. Maybe you live in one. But those cities are metropolises compared to these single-digit populations.
Bonanza, Utah: 0
America is full of fascinating facts you never knew before, but one of the most surprising may be that there are at least five towns in the U.S. that have a population of one. Bonanza was founded in 1888 after miners discovered extensive deposits of gilsonite, a natural asphalt, there. Its name was inspired by the Spanish word for prosperity, suggesting that miners could potentially make a profit from the mineral. In 2010 there was at least one person living there, but since then the population estimate has dropped to zero, according to the 2016 U.S. Census. Don’t miss the most charming small towns in every state.
Brewster, Florida: 3
When Brewster was originally built to house miners working in a nearby phosphate mine, it had every amenity a town could ask for: schools, a medical clinic, a post office, a movie theater, and even a swimming pool. Then in the 1960s, American Cyanamid, the company operating the town, closed it down. The manufacturing giant eventually lost the deed to its own town as partial payment of a judgment against the company for environmental damages. Now owned by the state of Florida, Brewster is supposed to be abandoned but according to the census data which only has estimates up until 2010, three people live there. It looks like there may be perks to living in one of the country’s smallest towns because this is the city with the worst bed-bug infestation in the U.S.
Buford, Wyoming: 1
If you thought Wyoming was only unique because it only has two escalators, then you haven’t heard about Buford. It may just be more famous in Vietnam than in America, thanks to Pham Dinh Nguyen, the Vietnamese investor who actually owns the town. Nguyen bought it in an auction for $900,000 and turned it into the only place in America where people can buy his Vietnamese specialty coffee, PhinDeli Coffee, NPR reported. But Nguyen isn’t Buford’s resident. (He lives in Vietnam and reportedly wears a cowboy hat around town.) That would be Brandon Hoover, who runs the Buford Trading Post and exclusively sells the gourmet coffee.
Elkhorn, Montana: 18
Elkhorn was a jackpot for miners during the 19th century. It’s said that its principal mine, the Elkhorn, produced $14 million worth of silver when it was active. Now it’s a ghost town with only a few buildings still standing to house its 18 residents. Two of those, Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall, have been preserved as examples of authentic frontier architecture. Make sure you plan your next trip to one of these 15 tiny countries you never knew existed!
Freeport, Kansas: 4
Until 2009, Freeport was the smallest incorporated place in America that had a bank. Then, the bank moved. Now, according to Mother Nature Network, all the town’s four residents have to brag about is their grain elevator and a Presbyterian church that’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Funkley, Minnesota: 5
Welcome to Funkley town! The land where only five people reside according to the U.S. census data for 2017. A small establishment called Funkley Bar used to be the one and only bar up and running in the teeny tiny city. The bar owner and self-proclaimed mayor, Emil Erickson, used to hand out Funkley Bucks (dollar bills with his face on them) to first-time guests. The bar used to be a favorite watering hole for hunters and bikers, but it has sadly gone bottoms up recently. But don’t worry, even if there’s no beer, there’s still people in Funkley. Next, learn more about the strangest animals found in every state.
Hobart Bay, Alaska: 0
Once a logging camp, the bay’s population has drastically declined in the past few decades from 187 residents in 1990 to three in 2000, and now the U.S. census states that not one person lives there. Alaska is home to another mind-blowing rarity: a cluster of Blockbuster stores.
Magnet Cove, Arkansas: 5
Country/Courtesy Darla Young
Back in its early settlement days of the 1800s, Magnet Cove was well known for its abundant supply of magnetite found in the soil. To this day, the only business you’ll see in the small town is Williams Grocery Store and Station. Here are the 50 hidden gems found in every state worthy enough to be on every bucket list.
Lotsee, Oklahoma: 2
This township started as just a ranch. George Campbell incorporated it in 1963 as a place where Boy Scouts and church groups could have campouts. He named the place after his daughter, Lotsee, who now runs a pecan business and tends to the ranch’s cattle and horses. At the time of the 2010 census, there were two residents, but NewsOK reported in 2014 that the population has risen to six. Hit up the strangest roadside attraction in every state on your next road trip!
Monowi, Nebraska: 1
Gerald A. DeBoer/Shutterstock
Elsie Eiler may be the only resident in Monowi, but she rarely feels alone. According to Country Living, travelers go out of their way to visit the 84-year-old’s town and the tavern she runs. She also pays taxes to herself and serves as mayor and librarian.
Ruso, North Dakota: 4
Ruso wins the title of the smallest city in all of North Dakota with only two residents during the winter time and four in the summer. The City Council consists of a mayor and a secretary. “We’ve got an election coming up pretty soon,” Bruce Lorenz, the 86-year-old mayor of Ruso, told the Minot Daily News. “There isn’t much to it. I’m the only one that votes. When I come up for election I get one vote.” Despite its pea-sized population, many out-of-staters still own a good chunk of the land in Ruso and pay yearly taxes on it. The land tax revenue pays for two street lights, the occasional garbage pick-up and allows sewage to be pumped. But Ruso residents are responsible for snow removal because snow plows are too expensive for the city’s budget.
Tavistock, New Jersey: 5
The founders of Tavistock must have really wanted to work on their backswings. A group of golfers who lived in the neighboring Haddonfield wanted to play on Sundays, but a local law prohibiting sporting activities on Sundays prevented them from doing so at the Haddon Country Club. Their solution: Buy land next to and around the country club, start a new town, and allow golf on Sundays. Another factor may have been that Haddonfield was—and still is—a dry borough that prohibited alcohol.
Thurmond, West Virginia: 5
Around the turn of the 20th century, Thurmond was an active town that saw many successful businesses, thanks to its position on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Now, the population has dwindled to five. The National Parks Service owns most of the town because it sits on the New River Gorge National River. Check out these stunning photos of America’s national parks.
Warm River, Idaho: 3
Though Warm River is home to three residents, most of the people in the town are only there to go camping in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Visitors can hike or ride horseback to nearby waterfalls and scope out old railroad lines. It’s also a popular spot for water sports like tubing and fishing. Think Warm River is a quirky name for a city? Wait until you read the 50 funniest town names from each state.