If you thought Eustace, Muriel, and Courage were odd for living in the middle of nowhere, think again. Here are 8 places from around the world that are inhabited by only one person.
8 Towns Inhabited by Only One Person
1. Bochorna, Georgia
Bochorna, then known as Bochorma, like many other highland hamlets in Tusheti, was an abandoned settlement at the time of the 2002 census but was reported resettled by one elderly man continuously—and a few others only in the summer months—in the national census of 2014.
Every autumn, the local shepherds bring their sheep down to their winter pastures in Kakheti. For centuries, Tusheti’s rugged terrain has encouraged a nomadic lifestyle that continues to this day. Because of the harsh living conditions characteristic to mountainous regions, in winter the area is almost empty from the population.
Seventy-seven-year-old Irakli Khvedaguridze, a doctor, however, lives here all year round. He spends the winter treating the sick in nearby communities, reading medical journals, and listening to the radio. When he needs company, he goes into Omalo, one of Tusheti’s largest villages, on his homemade skis.
“I am alone during winter here. I stay strong during the hard winters just because I was born in [the] mountain, in Tusheti. . . . I have grown up here, and I have grown old here. Besides, people need me here,” said Khvedaguridze. “I have a profession that requires from me to serve the population. I also physically help them in different ways. The fact that I am needed here makes my desire strong to stay in my village.”
2. Monowi, Nebraska
Elsie Eiler is not only Monowi’s sole resident, but she’s also the mayor, librarian, and bartender. She manages the town’s budget of about $500 a year at “city hall,” an old desk inside the town’s only business, the Monowi Tavern. Once a year, she raises “taxes” to keep the village’s four streetlights functioning.
Monowi’s peak years were in the 1930s, when it had a population of 150. But like many other small communities, it lost its residents to cities that were experiencing growth and offering better jobs. Although the village is almost abandoned, today it still has a bar called the Monowi Tavern, operated by Elsie Eiler herself. Nearby townsfolk are the tavern’s customers, and they say the $2.50 hamburgers and $2 beers are the best in town. In addition, Elsie maintains the 5,000-volume Rudy’s Library, founded in memory of her late husband Rudy Eiler, who died in 2004.
3. Jordan River, British Columbia, Canada
In 2014, Jordan River was declared the most seismic-prone community in the province. BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk says the dam is at risk of failure in a magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake. Some of the waterfront homes in Jordan River will soon be demolished; others will be moved. But not Hugh Pite’s. And Pite says he’s not going anywhere. There are 11 homes in the hamlet, but Pite and his cabin are now the only ones left. “People have come up to me quite a few times over the years and asked to buy it. I said: ‘It’s not for sale.’”
Established as a logging camp in the late 19th century, Jordan River has Vancouver Island’s second hydroelectric power plant and continues to be popular among surfers. Pite, who grew up in Oak Bay, started surfing when he was 24 while living in Australia. When he returned to Jordan in his 30s, he became a part of the early surf community, where only a handful of surfers would be in the water each day. “It was quite a nice little community,” said Pite. “There were lots of people who were long time residents who lived out there. But over the years a lot of people have left. It isn’t like it was in the 80s.”
4. Villa Epecuen, Argentina
Villa Epecuen was established along the shores of Lago Epecuen, a salt lake with salt levels second only to the Dead Sea, and ten times higher than any ocean. The town’s population peaked in the 1970s with more than 5,000 people. By 1993, the slow-moving flood consumed the town, and it was covered in 10 meters of water.
After being buried under 33 feet of water for about 25 years, Epecuen reemerged in 2009. The water evaporated due to dry weather conditions. No one returned, except Pablo Novak, now 89 years old. “I got back here to stay with my cattle. And I never left again,” he says.
Every day, Novak’s grandson, Christian, comes by to give him a hand with his two cows, and brings him food.
5. PhinDeli Town, Buford, Wyoming
Buford was originally a military outpost in 1866 to protect railroad workers. It was named after Civil War general John Buford and was once home to 2,000 people, but a Vietnamese entrepreneur bought it, with plans of promoting PhinDeli brand coffee, imported from Vietnam and sold in the town’s convenience store.
As of 2017, the town’s only resident is Brandon Hoover, who lives rent-free and runs PhinDeli Town Buford’s gas station. He took a job running the place and living there full-time. “I was looking for just a way to get out of the rigamarole, get out of the rat race, and just be able to regain my whole sense of perspective and sense of what this land will give you,” Hoover says.
6. Bonanza, Colorado
Bonanza, Colorado, a silver mining town established in 1881, had seven dance halls, four smelters, two hotels, and one newspaper along with 1,000 residents. However, the majority of it burned down in 1937. Today, Bonanza doesn’t have a functional single business, and it has no post office. The houses and the driveways are all empty. Everyone else had gone but one Mark Perkovich.
Perkovich moved from Denver to Bonanza 20 years ago simply because of his desire for isolation. “I wanted to be at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere,” he told the Denver Post in March. Perkovich, a 54-year-old veteran and retired hotshot firefighter, relocated from Denver to the solitude of Bonanza nearly 20 years ago.
7. Tomioka, Japan
Tomioka, Japan, is a ghost town situated within the polluted restricted zone that surrounds the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Tomioka was severely affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Besides the considerable damage from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the coastal area, the town was evacuated on the morning of March 12.
Only one man, now 60-year-old rice farmer Naoto Matsumura, with his dog, refused to evacuate and remained behind to feed the animals left behind in his neighborhood with supplies donated by support groups. He is aware of the radiation he is subject to on a daily basis but says that he “refuses to worry about it.” He fled at first but returned to take care of the animals that were left behind. “They also told me that I wouldn’t get sick for 30 or 40 years. I’ll most likely be dead by then anyway,” he says, “so I couldn’t care less.”
According to Matsumura in a 2013 interview, residents departed so quickly that farm animals were left tied up in barns, chickens were left in cages, and pets were left locked inside homes. Returning months later, he found scores of animals dying or dead from starvation. He made it his mission to take care of those he could help. He now lives with 50 cows, 2 ostriches, dogs, cats, and many other animals in his care.
8. Cass, New Zealand
Cass is a tiny railway settlement located in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. All the isolated railway communities in Cass have gone. Its lone inhabitant is Barrie Drummond, who works for KiwiRail. When Barrie Drummond was offered a job in Cass, he never thought he’d last more than two years there. But 25 years later, Drummond said he had no plans to leave any time soon. Drummond, 65, works for KiwiRail and is responsible for the highest section of the track linking Christchurch to Greymouth. He said he never felt lonely or isolated in the one-man town. “There’s always people here all the time. There’d be four or five people here every day calling in to look at that,” Drummond said. It was largely the people that made him stay.
Drummond said he had developed lifelong friendships with locals around the area. “That’s what made me stay here,” he said. He found living in a city noisy and the cost of living expensive.
Drummond organizes an annual Cass Bash event, a weekend cricket match between KiwiRail staff and the locals, which sees hundreds gather from across the country. He has transformed one of the old railway sheds into a bar, complete with stage for the band. More recently, Drummond also fulfilled a long-time ambition in creating a chip and putt golf course.