The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 27, 2013

Bolivar plans sesquicentennial celebration

BOLIVAR — Bolivar Borough is celebrating its 150th birthday next month with various events, including a display on the history of the community.

The sesquicentennial activities, sponsored by the Bolivar Parks and Recreation Committee, begins at 5 p.m. Aug. 16 and ends at 7 p.m. Aug. 18.

Burkey Park and Kelly Field in the borough will be busy over the weekend, hosting many of the events. The history of the town can be learned via a display at the American Legion post in Bolivar.

Colleen Mazey, chairwoman of the Bolivar Sesquicentennial Committee, said she is excited about the celebration and is welcoming former residents back to town for the event.

“It’s the family atmosphere,” she said about why she enjoys living in Bolivar. “It’s such a close-knit community.”

Born and raised in Bolivar, Mazey said she left town a couple of times for employment.

“The area always seems to find me again,” she said.

Bolivar was settled by Irish and Scottish immigrants in the late 1820s when the Pennsylvania Canal was being built in that area.

After the canal was finished, the immigrants sent money they earned to bring their relatives here.

The nearest post office at that time was in Armagh, about 14 miles away, Mazey said.

In 1838, the settlers petitioned the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C., for a post office.

The settlers were told that they needed a name for the town and post office.

They chose Washington, after George Washington, the father of our country, but the post office asked them to choose another name because of many towns being named after Washington, Mazey said.

The post office suggested the name of Simon Bolivar, who has been called the George Washington of South America.

Bolivar was instrumental in revolutions against the Spanish empire, which had a presence in South America.

The town chose that name.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Bolivar was 465.

The schedule of activities for the sesquecentennial celebra-tion can be found at

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