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Bolivar gets its first town flag

November 12, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

BOLIVAR, W.Va. -- It was a small but singular moment in the history of Bolivar Wednesday during a Veterans Day celebration when an honor guard of Cub Scouts marched into the middle school auditorium carrying the town flag.

It was raised for the first time at 8 a.m. Saturday when Bolivar Mayor Bob Hardy and members of the Town Council ran it up the flag pole in front of the Town Hall.

There it will fly, under the American flag, 24-7. "We have a light on the pole," Hardy said.

The flag is the creation of resident Todd Metzgar. In April 2007 his design was chosen by the Town Council from among eight others that had been submitted in a flag-designing contest.

Metzgar's design languished for two years until June when Bolivar's town elections put Hardy in the mayor's office and a new council in place.

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One of his first decisions as mayor was to move on the flag project. The council cobbled together $1,200 to have the Ambassador Flag Co. in Martinsburg make a dozen 3-by-5 foot flags. One flies on the pole outside Town Hall, one will grace the council's meeting room and one will fly over the Bolivar Children's Park. The other nine are for sale for $68 each, Hardy said. If they sell out, the town will order more, He said.

"We've been trying to get our own flag for years and now we finally have one," Hardy said.

Metzgar, who makes his living as a graphic designer, presented his design to the town two years ago. He wrote that he searched for elements and events that highlight Bolivar's heritage. "The challenge was in compiling these various elements into one flag to represent the past, as well as present ideals which we all cherish," he wrote.

The outer field of blue and gold are West Virginia's official colors. The eagle symbolizes the United States, the shield the defense of heritage and home. 

The two cannons represent the Civil War Battle of Bolivar Heights when Confederate General captured 20,000 Union troops in 1862. The crossed muskets are reminiscent of the U.S. armory at Harpers Ferry as well as symbolizing Bolivar's shared history with Harpers Ferry.

The star fort represents Mudfort, what the town was originally called.

Simon Bolivar, 1783-1830, organized an army that freed what would become five northern South American countries -- Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru from Spanish rule.

Peru, the last, was liberated in 1825, the same year the citizens of Mudfort petitioned the Virginia Assembly to become its own town, which it named Bolivar in honor of the South American freedom fighter. 

A bronze bust of Bolivar sits on a marble stand on the side lawn of the Bank of Charles Town, a gift to the town from the president of Venuezela.

Hardy said the statue was moved to its current location to protect it from vandals.

The town has made a few other strides since Hardy and the new council took over July 1.

It applied for and received $160,000 in federal stimulus funds to install sidewalks and curbs along Washington Street from Elm to Polk streets and up Polk to the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library. The town's matching share is $40,000.

Students from Harpers Ferry Job Corps are replacing broken and cracked sidewalks on Washington Street, a project well under way that will be completed next spring.

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