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Finding Minnesota: Visiting Funkley, MN’s Smallest City

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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FUNKLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — You might think things would get a little lonely in a place where you can count every resident on one hand.

However, Minnesota’s smallest city, Funkley, population 5 in the 2010 census, does get quite a few visitors.

The mayor, Emil Erickson, will gladly serve you a drink at the bar he owns, Funkley Bar. You’ll find his face on Funkley Bucks, which he hands out to first-time guests.

“It’s good for a drink of any kind you want,” he said.

And Erickson’s dog, Chopper, will belly up to the bar right next to you.

“He likes sitting up there on the stool, so he can see what everybody’s doing,” Erickson said.

The bar attracts big crowds of hunters in the fall and bikers in the summer.

It’s a town where just about everyone has to be on the city council.

“There’s only so many of us,” said council member Carrie Cochems, who’s also Erickson’s girlfriend. “We’ve got to keep it going, you know?”

And when it’s time for the council to meet, Funkley Bar becomes City Hall.

Funkley has been at or near the bottom of Minnesota’s population list for the past seven decades. People there wouldn’t mind a few more neighbors, but they get by with what they have.

“I just don’t want to be the biggest city,” council member Theresa Mills said.

In fact, things have changed since the 2010 census. New council member Mike Swanson moved in with his wife and three children, which had a big impact on the population.

“Yeah, I think we doubled it,” he said.

Funkley will hold on to the title of smallest city in the state, though, at least until the next census in 2020.

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