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Booming Bolivar

A Rapidly Growing Town in Allegany


an article from the Olean Democrat, Dec. 12, 1881

Bolivar, Dec 12

This village is having a boom wholly unexpected one short year ago. It is pleasantly situated on a somewhat extensive flat, circled by hills which are cultivated by their owners nearly to their summit. The approaches to Bolivar are through several valleys, comparatively narrow but in summer very pleasant and under a high state of cultivation. In this quiet retreat one or two hundred people have until recently had their abode doing a moderate business and depending upon the products and patronage of the surrounding country for their support. But now, all is changed. The long stillness is broken. Signs of life are visible on every hand. New buildings are going up in all directions and the little village of six months ago is rapidly enlarging her borders. A score of railway trains pass every day and the steam whistle sends forth its shrill notes, which echo and reverberate between and among the neighboring hills, sounding civilization's warning. The oil developments are no longer confined to Richburg, two miles away, but are gradually and surely approaching Bolivar and this fact gives an added impetus to her growth. A review of that growth may not prove uninteresting. A visit to


revealed the fact that the office is now doing a business of $800 a year, whereas, six months ago the business done was at the rate of $200 per year. The postmaster J. S. Hoyt was appointed during Lincoln's administration, and has held the office ever since. The postal facilities are wretched and ought to be improved without delay. The mails are brought into Bolivar by stage with the sole exception of the Wellsville mail which is brought by rail, and this, not by contract with the U.S. government, but by the carier (sic) who accompanies it and who prefers that method to the horse-and-wagon means of transportation. The post-masters of Richburg and Bolivar should petition the government for relief. The distance between these points and Olean is only twenty miles, but the time required for the transmission of mail is two days. The post-office at Bolivar is an Hoyt & Cowle's store. These gentlemen have a general store, carry a large stock and are doing a good business.


of the village was recently taken with the view of applying for a village charter. The resident population within the limits of one square mile in 635, or between 300 and 400 more than required by law for the procurement of a charter. ThE committee, appointed by a meeting of citizens to conduct the canvass, publish the notices and apply for the charter, is composed of the following gentlemen: D. A. Newton, E. R. Kilbury, R. L. Andrews, J. S. Hoyt and J. M. Curtis. The notices are being prepared will be issued at once. Six weeks thereafter the coveted powers will be obtained and Bolivar will be incorporated. This will enable the trustees elected under it to make several needed improvements such as building sidewalks and improving the streets. The town will then have suitable police regulations. So many new streets are being opened and the village is extending in so many directions that as a matter of course the walks, especially in the muddy time, are in a horrible condition. A walk is now being built by private subscription, from Main street to the railway station by the way of Liberty street, and will cost $100. This walk will be appreciated by visitors, who are at present subjected to great inconveniences.


have been for several weeks past and are also at the present time earned on quite extensively. Day, Lyman & Co., in June last, put up the first new building. It is located toward the upper end of Main street and is 24x30 feet. In it they carry on their oil well supply business besides a general hardware trade. The firm is composed throughout of gentlemen of the highest standing and character and is now in the midst of deserved prosperity. IN the same part of town N. A. Blakeslee & Co. of olean, have recently completed a new store and stocked it with books and drugs. The store is 29x60 feet, two stories and is quite attractive both within and without. the business is in charge of O. A. Potter of Machias. Mr. Potter is brother in-law of Frank Blackmon, one of the firm. Mr. J. W. McDonald of Dansville, in the very competent drug clerk of the fine establishment. The store is having a large trade and bids fair to rival the parent concern in Olean. H. W. Eaton is another Olean gentleman who has contributed to the growth of this flourishing town, having built some weeks ago on Main street, at the railroad crossing a large flour and feed store, coal sheds, etc. He has recently leased the premises to J. T. Henley, of Olean, formerly of Eldred, Pa. Mr. H. Maulech, late of Titusville meat Market, in the Sixth ward of Olean, came to Bolivar after the fire which destroyed his market and took charge of the Corwin house of which he is the owner, and which he not long since had built. He had sixty regular boarders and is quite satisfied with his present prosperity. Mr. Maulech has begun the erection of a large hall in rear of his hotel. The building will be 3-x-- feet. The second floor will have lodge rooms and a large hall for shows, dances and other entertainments. The first floor will be [two lines illegible].... of way .... completion and sold ... ... ... company afterwards. On the remainder of the ... fifteen now buildings are either up or in process of erection. These buildings are designed mainly for business purposes though a dwelling house is now and then seen among them. D. D. Newton, one of Bolivar's solid citizens, treated the railway companies generously, giving them the right of way and fifty feet on either side of their roads wherever they p...ed through his lands. On several acres, owned by him on both sides of Main street, many leases have been taken and the work of building is being pushed. Parties who lease from Mr. Newtown are protected from all encroachments by the greedy oil operators and have the privilege of buying their lots at the end of six months, the gorung rent previously paid being applied as part payment. The Voorhees farm, of 30 acres, on the flat east of Main street, was some time ago purchased by G. V. Forman and other Olean parties and cut up into building lots. The price paid was $10,000. the number of lots is 200. Thirty-five of them have been sold at prices ranging from $3 to $6 per foot and many fine residences have been built thereon; also, on Kilbury lot of fifteen acres, lying south of the Voorhees lot. These lots are separated by Kilbury street. Drs. J. L. and Dorr Cutler, Mrs. Miranda Smith, Jonathan Smith, John R. Lamb, E. W. Bell and others have built fine residences in this part of town, costing from $1,500 to $2,500 each. Of other real estate and building operations in Bolivar, more to-morrow. To show the advance in real estate in this village we may remark that Mr. Cowles bought, last June, in the northern part of town, a little less than one acre, for which he paid $600, which at the time was considered a large price. He has recently been offered for the same ground $2,000, which he refused. That Bolivar has a future will be further shown tomorrow.

BOLIVAR, Dec. 14. -- Yesterday's letter conveyed only an imperfect idea of Bolivar's prosperous condition and brightening prospects. The present letter will recite several more encouraging facts which will serve to convince our readers that Bolivar is destined to occupy a very important place in the history of his new oil field and to enjoy a large degree of prosperity. Perhaps it may be well to say just here that she will owe this in part to the liberal policy of her citizens. Bolivar has never given the cold shoulder to strangers but has greeted them cordially and treated them in a generous manner. To be sure, the old settler in Bolivar, owning village lots and farms, is as anxious to reap a benefit as anybody, but he believes in the principles of fairness and honesty and tries to use a little moderation. This village is specially fortunate in her leading citizens. Such men as Newton, Hoyt, Kilbury, Cowles, Patridge, Curtis and others who might be mentioned, would do honor to any town. They are large, minded, public spirited men and are doing much to promote Bolivar's social and material welfare. Let us now take an other look at


in this thriving town. But first allow me to correct a few typographical errors which appeared in yesterday's letter. Day, Lyman & Co's oil well supply store is not the small affair that the reader would be led to believe. Instead of being 24x30 feet, it is 24x80, as the type-slinger will please observe; and Mr. Hoyt, instead of selling ten acres, on Liberty street, for “drilling” purposes, sold it for building purposes, as we most solemnly aver we wrote it in yesterday's letter. The necessity for this correction will be apparent when I state that by agreement of real estate owners in this village no drilling for oil is to be allowed within the village limits.

C. V. B. Barse & Co., of Olean, are putting up a large wooden building on Main street. This building will be finished and ready for business the first of January. It will be located .. .... with Mr. Barse as president, A. H. Marsh, Of Allegany, cashier and Frank Newton, of the exchange National bank at Olean, teller. Another department of the building will be devoted to the hard ware business owned and conducted by Barse & Company. A third room in the same building is already leased to James Kelsey's son, George in charge. C. A. Tousey, the well know hardware merchant of Olean, will soon start a branch store in this village. He is now erecting a building for the purpose on Boss street, probably with the intention of having the boss hardware store of Bolivar. It will be just like him to try for it.

It is rumored that L. Emery, jr., of Bradford, and the Jarecki manufacturing company of Erie, will build stores here at an early day and stock them with oil well supplies. E. Crawford of Bradford, with a farseeing sagacity for which he is to be commended, has moved his stock of second hand oil well supplies from Richburg to his new store on Wellsville street and is doing a large business. Voorhees & Gulick who for many years have followed the hardware business in Bolivar, now occupy a new building. I. J. Cooper & Co., also old Bolivar merchants, have a general store in the same building. It is a handsome block and affords accommodations to R. Salvage boot and shoe dealer of Millerstown, Pa., and J. R. Herman of Little Valley. Mr. Herman runs a clothing and gents' furnishing store and is doing a very nice business. His cigars are excellent. L. G. Darrin, a young lawyer from Addison, has an office in this block and as real estate agent has been doing a splendid business. Mr. Darrin is a very pleasant, energetic, go-ahead sort of gentleman, who is bound to succeed. D. C. Moffat, surveyor, of Olean, has an office with Mr. Darrin and spends part of each week in Bolivar, where he is doing a good business.

It is ...... to mention in detail all that ..... that are now in.... .... much... society has purchased a lot, ... acre in extent, on Friendship street in the eastern part of town. On this lot a new church building will be erected, 40x80 feet, of wood, to cost about $8,000. the society has $6,000 on had (sic) for this purpose. The plans and specifications have been prepared and the building committee are waiting for bids. (Olean builders please take notice.) The bids will close in a very few days. I should have stated that the new edifice will have two transcepts, one for class rooms and the other for a lecture room. It will be a fine building and worthy of the town. The parsonage, a nice one will be moved to the same lot. The present parsonage lot on Main street has been sold to Mr. J. H. Mourhess who has already sold a portion of it for $30 a foot and holds the remainder at $40. The pastor, Rev. Mr. Stratton who was assigned to this field last fall, is much esteemed and the church is in a flourishing condition Bolivar is to have not only a new church but a new


The present building is old and of ... me.... altogether too limited to accommodate the school children of this district. The present attendance is seventy, but would be much larger if the building were larger. Stephen Pollard of Belmont is the teacher in charge and he has a lady assistant. Another lot will soon be purchased and a new school building erected next spring.

This article would not be complete without some reference to


At present the leading hotel is the Clark house. This hotel is located on Main street at the head of Liberty street, and was built many years ago, before Bolivar was dreamed of as an oil town. It was for several years owned and conducted by Mrs. Sarah E. Voorhees, who kept it in good style. Last spring she sold it to Jud H. Clark of Scio, who leased it to E. C. Crane. Mr. Crane kept it five months and is said to have cleared $13,000 during that period. A pretty good sized one--but it may be true. On the 13th of October the property was leased by C. E. Winchell, of Rochester, by whom it is now kept. Winchell understands the business and is a very pleasant host. He informs us that Mr. Clark proposes to make extensive improvements in the spring. The open space between the hotel and billiard room, will be built over. The present barroom will be converted into a reading room and the bar will be in the new addition. This addition will also afford several sleeping rooms on the second floor, and it is expected that the building thus enlarged will accommodate from eighty to a hundred people. The hotel is not doing a rushing business. It has telephone connections with all the exchanges and all important points in the great northern oil field. Its cuisne and all its accommodations are excellent and it is a great favorite with operators and with the traveling public.


is a large new building, not yet completed, which D. A. Newton is building to meet the increasing demand for hotels in this village. It is a wooden structure, located on the upper part of Main street, and is sixty five feet wide by eighty feet in depth. Counting the basement, which is to be used for a bar-room, laundry, barber shop and billiard room, the building will be four stories high. The hotel office, private parlor, Western Union telegraph office, dining room, kitchen and two pantries will be on the second floor. The dining room is thirty feet square. The two remaining floors are devoted to parlors and sleeping rooms. Of the latter there are fifty and the hotel will accommodate a hundred guests. the building is to be heated and lighted by has and the fittings have all been put in. The gas will be supplied by the Empire gas company of Allentown. A tank house is to be built on the hotel grounds and water brought by means of pipes from a large spring on the hill north of town and will be conducted to every floor of the building. A twenty barrel water tank, fed from the roof, will be located on the third floor, as a precaution against fire. A store-house 20x36 is to be erected near the main building, the second story of which will furnish sleeping rooms for the hired help. The hotel is to be furnished and opened to the public by the first day of February. It is to be conducted by Mr. Z. Martin, of the old Mansion house at Titusville, Pa., who has leased it for a term of years at $6,000 per year. The builders name is C. H. Way, a resident of Bolivar. He is at present confined to his residence by illness, and Mr. H. H. Thorn is superintending the work. The hotel will be in all respects first class and will do a large business. Its cost when completed and furnished will be about $12,000. Side from the two hotels mentioned there are eight or ten hotel-restaurants, among which are the Eldred hotel, the Bolivar house and the Boston house. These are all well patronized.

There is a pressing demand in Bolivar for machine shops, and the wonder is that none have been built. Two or three parties, leased lots for the purpose several months ago, and unless they are entirely blind to their interests they will make haste to build the shops. Other matters of interest pertaining to this favored town will receive due attention tomorrow.

Created on ... December 09, 2007

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