Bolivar School History

  • 1906 marked the opening of the new Bolivar High School.

    Do you remember the rich artistry of the dark red brick outlined with white and the severe simplicity of the white doorway that led to the spacious interior? Waxed floors, wainscoted, cream-colored walls, gaslights, and corridors and rooms larger than any in town greeted your entrance. The library with its walls lined with shelves on the right, the modern office with its roll top desk on the left and the gigantic auditorium ahead, disclosing through its great windows the projecting stage, and its three hundred seventy-five seats stretching back into the shadows-truly a fitting place for the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" to rise year after year. Then you remember the second grade room on the left, the third across the hall, the first on the right and the fourth facing it. The two sweeping stairways each lighted by an oval window led to the higher classrooms. Seventh, sixth, eighth and fifth grade rooms were on one side of the great corridor while the high school study hall and classrooms occupied the other. The English room, the Latin room, and beyond study hall, the magnificent laboratory with its two long, stone-topped lab tables gleamed brightly new. The study hall with ninety seats, five great windows and a rostrum-the best and the latest were used in the new Bolivar High School. And now, twenty-five years later, it has become "Old Bolivar High School," soon to be discarded and forgotten. So that faint memories of it and of its many graduates may linger a little longer, an account of each class from 1906 to the present time has been created. May it bring back to you your Alma Mater in the glory of its youth and yours.

    Although the building was open in September 1906, there was no Senior Class until 1907. Its seven members were: Don Andrus, Georgia Gorton, Fred C. Hill, Charles McKelvey, Evah Sage, Florence Williams and Mabel Zimmerman. Don Andrus lives in Bradford; Fred C. Hill is now in Angelica; Mabel Zimmerman is now Mrs. Niver and resides in Daytona Beach, Florida; Charles McKelvey lives in West Clarksviile; Evah Sage-Vors in Friendship; Georgia Gorton-Corbin in Batavia, and Florence Williams is now Mrs. Wallace Smith and resides in Bolivar. This Senior Class will never forget how proud they were of the fact that they were the first class to graduate from the new school of 1906.

    In 1908 there were only three graduates, and due to the fact that they are residents of other towns we did not get any information concerning them. This class consisted of Mary Baxter, Bartlesville, Ind., Anna L. Crandall, who is now Mrs. Hall of Little Genesee, and John E. Deal, East Bloomfield, N. J. By 1909 the number of seniors had increased from three to seven, who were all proud of being the largest class to date. Of this class of seven, five are living; Glen Garthwait, probably the most talented and gifted student that B. H. S. ever graduated, lived only a few years after graduating. Gladys Cowles, who later married and became Gladys Harlow, died a few years ago at her home in Washington. The surviving members are, Donna Reynolds Chipman who lives in Bolivar; Lina Booth Smith of Seneca Falls; Mabel Brown Bridgeman of Wautola, Wis.; Lura McDonell who lives with her mother in Bolivar and teaches in Rochester, and Laurence Bliss of Bolivar.

    The Class of 1910 consisted of eight members. Their colors were blue and gold; their flower, the conventional rose, and their motto, "nihil sine labore," "nothing without labor." Perhaps it was this splendid motto that gave the graduates their high ideal of education, for each member of that class after leaving the "dear old B. H. S." continued his work and was' grad¬uated from institutes of higher learning, namely: Lowell Andrus, Cornell University; Evelyn Bond, Buffalo Normal School; Geraldine Bond, Buffalo Normal School; Raymond Burdick, Alfred University; Donna Cleveland, Syracuse University; Marie McDermott, Universities of Michigan and Cornell; Morton Mix, Alfred University, later studying in Germany. In 1910 the first Alumni Banquet was held, and since then these banquets have been a feature of the High School Commencement festivities. Of the eight members, six are living; Donna Cleveland and Lowell Andrus are dead. Lowell Andrus was enlisted in the World War and the B. H. S. flag received its first gold star.

    The Class of 1911, or the fifth graduating class, was composed of six seniors: Justin Bradley, Hornell; Glenn Williams, Rochester; Nelle Tubridge, Salamanca. The records say that Edda Scott and Genevieve Gray reside in Bolivar and Olive Thomas is an English teacher in the Senior High School in Niagara Falls, N. Y. As the years pass, the classes show an increase in members.

    The Class of 1912 was one of the largest that ever was graduated from B. H. S. They were called the unlucky class, for there were thirteen members. Franz Rosebush was their principal. The class motto was, "what we do, let us do well." The members of the class were: Claire Kenyon Andrus, Alice Cranston, Adelaide Brewer, Russell White, Mercia Cowles, Loretta Seibert, Lena Wasson, Louise McDermott, Roscoe Repp, Charles Hoffman, Hortense Fairbanks, William Seibert and Clara Conklin. Three of these members have passed away: Roscoe Repp, Louise McDermott, and Kenyon Andrus who served in France during the war and added another gold star to the B. H. S. flag.

    The Class Poet of 1913 brings us an interesting account of their group of seniors. It is autumn, 1912. A gentleman of pleasing personality, six feet tall, red hair and a smile that lingers, sits on the rostrum of the B. H. S. He is Professor Franz H. Rosebush. The World War is still two years ahead, Woodrow Wilson is campaigning for the presidency, and Lind¬bergh is playing marbles with the rest of the kids. The roll is called, the curriculum made up, classes organized and some three hundred minor citizens of the U. S. are on the way upward and onward. In the Senior Class, with which this narrative is chiefly concerned, eight students respond: Isabel Bradley, Winifred Gavin, Rowena Jordan, Bessie Skerritt, Clarendon Streeter, Hubert Bliss, Hyle Idle and Frank Hungerford. By way of introduction, the writer makes but one' 'modest" claim to distinction for the Class of '13, namely, that they were almost a perfect organization. I say "almost," because if they had been perfect they would have elected the writer president instead of class poet. The reader will pardon the digression, but for the information of the class who elected me I must ,add that every last vestige of the poet's muse left me about the time Volstead became popular. It has been truly said, "poets are born, not made"; not even by Senior Class elections.

    Professor Rosebush called the Class of '13 into conference and in a wise and tactful little address told us what was required if we were to be numbered among those present on the platform of the auditorium in June. He concluded with that sage advice, "take an extra hitch about the post for safety's sake." This was based on one of his stories about the old sea captain who always took an extra hitch with his cables for safety's sake. Among other pleasant recollections the writer will always remember the professor as the original "safety first" apostle. For the benefit of our children and the children of others be it said that the Class of '13 did take an extra hitch about the post and after a valiant and successful struggle triumphantly ascended the platform on that June evening in 1913 and were forthwith graduated. For historical purposes be it simply said that the class was graduated. Supplementing our scholastic endeavors, the Class of '13 had other ambitions. We planned a trip to Washington, the funds to be raised collectively by the class. To this end we put on a series of candy sales, bake sales and other lesser phases of banditry, the success of which can be attributed only to parental pride and the almost superhuman patience of the citizens. Someone put a motion to hold a class play, but this was killed in committee on the grounds that we were better salesmen than actors. When the smoke finally cleared away and the spoils were counted we lacked some $50.00 of going to Washington. As stated previously this class was almost a perfect organization. Here again this "almost" complex intruded itself. We almost got to Washington but finally compromised and went on a picnic to little Rock City. By the terms of the class will, the fund was inherited by the Class of '14 to be used for their Washington trip. The writer still maintains that if the Class of '13 had reached Washington, the World War could have been averted.

    The Class of 1914 had five members and we regret to say we do not have one of its members in town, but we did locate some of them: Dorothy Young is now Mrs. Feek and lives in Lake Placid, N. Y.; Naomi Bradley Reid is living in New York; Victor Williams resides in Allen¬town, Pa.; Katherine Williams MacDonell is now in Bolivar and Zerita Davie Edwards' residence is unknown to us.

    The Class of 1915 consisted of five boys and four girls. They are all living except Jessie Pratt who died several years ago. Neil Crandall, Harry Sackinger, Chester Bliss, Milford Root and Harley Crandan reside in Bolivar; Viola Newton Osburn lives in Donora, Pa.; Helen Dunn teaches in New Jersey, but we cannot learn where Clara Lewis is living at the present time. As the years passed, the size of the graduating classes increased.

    In 1916 there were ten mem¬bers: William Nichols, president; Theodore Hoffman, vice-president; Beatrice Streeter, secretary and treasurer; W. Augustine Dunn, Dewey K. McDivitt, Jessie Sackinger, Dorothy I. Lamphere, George Osborne, Teresa R. Seibert and O. Lucille Wirt. The principal was Harold J. Coon. This, class took a trip to Washington in June from the proceeds of a fair and a play they had had the previous December and from candy and bake sales. They all enjoyed their work, although it was hard, and each one thought the trip repaid every effort he had put forth.

    The Class of 1917 had nine members who were: Louis Dunn, Violet Hoffman, Flora Amsden, Beatrice Seibert, Susie Shaner, Burton Bliss, Samuel Shaner, Baldwin Hitchcock and Douglas Repp. Burton Bliss lives in Albuquerque, N. Mex.; Flora Amsden Shaner, Douglas Repp, Louis Dunn, Baldwin Hitchcock all reside in Bolivar; Violet Hoffman, a former teacher of the third grade in the Bolivar High School, is now Mrs. R. C. Witter and resides in Little Valley; Susie Lewis Shaner lives in Bolivar and Beatrice Seibert lives in Buffalo. Samuel Shaner, one of the well-known men in Bolivar, passed away February 26, 1929.

    The Class of 1918 was composed of eight graduates: Ethel Hayward, Alta Allen, Marjorie McDivitt, Gladys Roor, Cyril Shaner, Glen Dickerson, Orval Perry, and Fred Shaner. The Class of '18 chose as their colors, red, white and blue, since this was during the World War. The colors were very appropriate at that time. They presented the play "At the End of the Rainbow." The proceeds were given to the Red Cross to aid them in taking care of the wounded in the war. This class also gave up their pleasure trip to Washington because of the war. They were so faithful to their country that we will look to see what has happened to them: Ethel Hayward entered Alfred University, where she later was graduated, and is now teaching school in Butler, N. J.; Alta Allen attended Normal School in Geneseo and taught a few years before being married and settling down in Bolivar; Marjorie McDivitt was graduated from Buffalo Normal and taught school in Bolivar and Portville where she became acquainted with and was married to Gerald Griffith of Olean. They now live at Springfield, Mass.; Gladys Root took a business course at Westbrook's Commercial Academy in Olean and after a brief business career was married to William Nichols and resides in Bolivar; Cyril Shaner was graduated from the Rochester Business Institute and accepted a position with the Firestone Trust and Savings Bank at Akron, Ohio, where he has been promoted to the Loan Department. Here he met and married Miss Bertha Ziefel; Orval Perry was graduated from Alfred Univer¬sity and then received an M.A. degree from Cornell. He is now located at Watkins Glen, where he is history instructor in the high school. This year he conducted the senior trip to Washington; Fred Shaner was graduated from Rochester Business Institute and returned to Bolivar to engage in the oil business. He is now married to Miss Susie Lewis; Glen Dickerson married Bernice Johnson of Shinglehouse, Pa., soon after graduating from Bolivar High School and is now living in Mt. Morris, N. Y., where he is the owner of a Chevrolet garage.

    The Class of 1919 had fourteen members. These were Harold Davie, Faye Allen, now Mrs. Caldwell of Olean, Doris Root and Theodore Crandall, deceased, Ella McDivitt, Genevieve Casey, now Mrs. Earl Jennings of Richburg, Helen Buckhout Gray, Margaret Holder Roberts and Eleanor Harry. Daisy McDivitt lives at her home in Richburg; Margaret Crowley teaches in Gowanda, and Alva Wilber is in Bolivar; Leola Crooks Ferrington lives in West Clarks¬ville; Margaret Dunn Towers is a former teacher of biology and history, and now lives in Bolivar; Harold Davie lives in Hornell, Eleanor Harry Hooker in Hamburg and Margaret Holder Roberts in Rochester.

    The Class of 1920 had nine seniors: Among them were Howard Withey, Marjorie Davie, Janice Davie, Bentley Fairbanks, Myrtle Severson, Mary Sackett, Blanche Kilmer, Gladys Hulett and Genevieve Swarthout. We were able to locate a few of these members; these are Marjorie Davie, teaching in Buffalo, and Janice Davie, now Mrs. Clarke Ralph, lives in Buffalo; Myrtle Severson is married to Robert Lee and lives in New York; Mary Sackett Fox resides in Bolivar and Genevieve Swarthout Ingalls in Kossuth.

    The Class of 1921 had only three seniors: Beatrice Hoffman, Iona Miller and Lureta Stillman. Beatrice Hoffman Wilson lives in Olean, Lureta Stillman MacMillan lives in Bolivar, and Iona Miller Rigby in Mead Hollow.

    The Class of 1922 had an increase of four to the previous year's members. These were Clara Lain Walters and Margaret Moore who live in Bolivar; Leland Hulett is in Battle Creek, Mich.; Raymond Root is at Milton College, Wis.; Sadie McDivitt is now Mrs. Richards; Phyllis Cady is Mrs. Homer Cooley and lives in Richburg and Edith Wertman in Alfred.

    This account is told in the words of a member of the Class of 1923: "The year of 1923 stands out in the minds of numerous men and women today as the year of their graduation from B. H. S. Many good times were enjoyed in the four years of high school, with the Junior-Senior Banquet and the Senior Play predominating. The one lasting remembrance will be the trip to Washington, made under the supervision of our Principal, Ray C. Witter, in April, 1923. The educational advantages and the wonder of being able to make the trip on a sum of money earned by hard work and much enjoyment of the class members will never be forgotten. Our class motto, "tonight we launch, where shall we anchor?" is very fitting when we look at the class roll and see what each has done with his life since that memorable graduation night. Those that were graduated that night were Evelyn Clair Jordan, Elwyn Swarthout, Arline Smythe, Marjorie Cranston, Regina Dunn, Onolee Wilber, and Marie Shaner.

    Leap Year, 1924, saw a large class of seniors graduating who succeeded in making their way in the world in some such manner as this: Leland Burdick is married and teaches in East Aurora; Teresa Dunning is married and lives in Boston; Thelma Casey is manager of the local Larkin Store; Helen Clarke teaches history in Whitesville; Arlouine Hall teaches history in Clean High School; George Bliss attends Columbia University; Pauline Smith works in the State Bank of Bolivar; Florence Smythe lives at home; Edward Bullock is married and lives in Buffalo; Walter Woodin is at home in Genesee; James Dougherty returned home a short time ago from Texas where he was employed in the Texas Oil Company, and Fay Thompson is at Renns,elaer College in Troy, N. Y. Quite a variety of occupations have been developed by the training of Old Bolivar High School, don't you think?

    Although there were thirteen members of the Class of 1925, each one seemed to have been fortunate in finding a happy way to spend his or her time: Florence Shaner is married to Leon MacGowan and lives in Binghamton; Mary Cummings is employed in the telephone office in Bolivar,Josephine and Malcolm McDivittlive at home in Richburg, Malcolm returned from Germany a short time ago; Fern Wilson Foster lives in Little Genesee, and Aline Lain Cox in New Jersey; Florence Murphy Ryan lives in Bolivar; Marguerite White Root lives in Genesee; Edwina Smith and Henry Sackett are attending Alfred University; Genevieve Williams is employed at the Bolivar Garage; Robert Wightman is married and lives in town, and Margaret Wainman of Little Genesee works in Buffalo. As the years rolled by, the classes continued to increase in size.

    The Class of 1926 was the largest one yet graduated from the school-there were seventeen members. Lawrence Shaner is at Alfred University, and Howard VanCuren at The University of Buffalo; Gladys Orcutt is now Mrs. DeHollander; Keith Perry resides in Obi; Fred Newton is at college in Pittsburgh; Dorothy White attends Geneseo Normal, and Marcedes Turner is private secretary for a lawyer in Belmont; Paul Husak is working in Illinois; Roberta Lain and Gladys Fanton are living in Bolivar; Stella Ward is a stenographer to W. T. Common; Hazel Baldwin is now Mrs. Carl Failing and lives in Shinglehouse; Helen Dougherty teaches in Belmont; Bernice Bliss is at home in Little Genesee; Elouise Peters is employed at Dr. Claflin's dentist office; Ruth Wightman teaches school in Herkimer; N. Y.; Howard Root is at Milton College, Wis., and Myrtle Cady Newton lives in Kossuth.

    In 1927 there were eight seniors who were: Ruth Potter who attends Alfred University; James Gilligan who .attends Cornell University; Maxine Nelson who is in Buffalo; Richard Sherwood is employed in the local post office; Gladys Wood is now Mrs. Barnes and resides in Wellsville; Lloyd Foster is studying at Houghton College; Harrison DeGroff lives in Little Genesee, and Thelma Guild attends Westbrook's Academy.

    The Class of 1928 had thirteen seniors. Three of this class are married: Ruth Root Foster, Marguerite Nelson Barnes and, last but not least, is Nevah Jones, our typist for The Sentinel, to Victor McBride; The other ten are: Marion Hoffman at Westbrook's Academy, Curtis Jordan employed at W. A. Dunn's drug store; Charry Woodard, attending Syracuse University; Burdette Thompson and Sealand Appleby at Westbrook's Academy; Geraldine Ryan living in Bolivar; Richard.Miller at his home in Miller Hollow; Frank Henderson employed at the local First National Bank; Anna McQueen in training for a nurse at the Sisters Hospital in Buffalo; Josephine Wright left a short time after graduation to reside in Olean.

    Class of 1929 was' the next to the last to graduate from the "Old School." Miss Growney was the class adviser and also the director of the play, "The Charm School," which was very successful. This class will never forget the faithful work of Miss. Growney. Among these seniors were Basil Hibbard who is a bookkeeper in Oswego; Margaret Green, Velma Smith, Anita Perkins and George White who are attending Westbrook's Academy; Albert Cartwright and Edna Ward taking postgraduate courses; Herbert Rhoades works at the Bolivar Larkin Store; Evelyn Sherwood attends Meeker's Business School in Elmira; Irene Casey is stenographer and bookkeeper at The Bolivar Breeze office; Frank Cossaboon was taking a postgraduate course the first of the year, but is now working, and Alois Husak is at his home in Mead Hollow.

    1930 marks the passing of the "Old Bolivar High School" and the opening of a new B. H. S.; in an age of progress this is as it should be. However, as the Old B. H. S. fades in perspective, a line in memoriam will not be amiss. No inanimate thing should be the direct object of man's emotions or sentiment, for this would be pagan idolatry, but it can, through association either directly or indirectly, mold the course of his thoughts. What, then, is more natural than that we should look back upon the scenes of our carefree high school days with some feeling of sentiment? To the alumni, the "Old School House" is the symbol of those days and all they call to memory.

    Early settlers crossed the “Divide" and made their homes in this region when it was a vast forest of pines, hemlocks and maples. Our forefathers made clearings, built log cabins and lived by planting, trapping, hunting and fishing. They manufactured, sold and bartered maple sugar and black salts. The settlement was named Bolivar after General Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), who was then called the "George Washington of South America."

    In 1820 a log schoolhouse was built and Rachel Gilbert was chosen the first teacher. Austin Cowles wielded the "hickory-stick" during the winter term of 1820-21. Portable saw-mills later made their appearance and the old log schoolhouse gave way to a board building similar to that labeled 1845 on the opposite page. Ere long this became too small for the growing population and the adjoining church house was made into a two-story school. These buildings were located near the present Post Office site. Tins third schoolhouse, is now a two-family dwelling at 55 Boss Street, pictured on the preceding page. A commodious two-story wooden structure was erected at the corner of Olean and Kincaid Streets in 1882. This school was enlarged and because of its qualifications was placed upon the accredited list of high schools in 1887.

    A modern brick schoolhouse was constructed on the same site in 1905. Two score and four years later this building became obsolete and the greatest advancement in the history of our schools took place in 1929 when a centralized district was formed from the old Bolivar District No..l and rural schools from portioll3 of the townships of Bolivar, Clarksville and Genesee. A magnificent three-story building was constructed of fireproof materials at the west end of Bolivar's driving park. The entire cost of this new building and its twelve-acre campus was over half a million dollars. It was first occupied September 2, 1930 and is now rated as the outstanding Central School in western New York. Fourteen principals have administered the schools in Bolivar. Professors James McCourtney and Stephen Pollard were in charge of the union or graded schools, and the following high school principals have served since 1887: H. A. Benedict 1889-1891, A. J. Glennie 1891-97, E. E. McDowell 1897-1900, Ella I. Crandall 1900-03, Charles D. Hill 1903-07, C. W. Vandergrift 1907-10, Franz H. Rosebush 1910-16, Harold J. Coon 1916-19, G. J. Dikeman 1919-20, C. L. Grimm 1920-23, Ray C. Witter 1923-28, Tracey L. Johnson 1928-30, and J. Frederick Whitford since 1930.