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The city of Bolivar is the county seat of Polk County, in central Missouri. The city was founded in 1835, when it was designated the county seat, and it became a fourth-class city in 1881. The settlement began as a stop along the Overland Stage route, which is why its historic streets don’t run true north and south. The location of the settlement was related to Keeling Spring, located behind the Bolivar Post Office, and adjacent to the Bolivar Herald Free Press office, a spring that is now mostly covered by a concrete monument commemorating the importance of the spring to the city. The city was named for the South American General Simon Bolivar, whose military feats were viewed as a symbol of liberation, and also because some of its early settlers had ties to Bolivar, Tennessee. Bolivar is located in Marion Township, along Missouri Routes 32 and 83, with Route 13 skirting its western boundaries. The city is east of Fair Play, southeast of Cliquot, southwest of Goodson, west of Half Way, and north of Stagle.

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