|Incorporated||March 13, 1795|
|• Total||1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)|
|• Land||1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,614 ft (492 m)|
|• Density||2,830.8/sq mi (1,093.0/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC)|
|School district:||Bedford Area School District|
|Area code: 814
Local phone exchanges: 623, 624
Bedford is a borough in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 102 miles (164 km) west of the State Capital, Harrisburg and 102 miles east of the city of Pittsburgh . It is the county seat of Bedford County. Bedford was established in the mid-18th century. Population counts follow: 1890, 2,242; 1900, 2,167; 1910, 2,385. The population was 3,141 at the 2000 census.
Originally called Raystown, Bedford was settled about 1751 and laid out in 1766. Bedford was incorporated on March 13, 1795. For many years it was an important frontier military post. The Espy House in Bedford is notable for having been the headquarters of George Washington and his force of 13,000 while putting down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, which had started around the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
In 1758 the British Army came to Raystown to set up a fort. The fort was named Fort Bedford, for the politically powerful Duke of Bedford in England. Some believe this is how the town later got its name. Fort Bedford was built as one of the many British Army stepping stones through the state leading to the forks of the Ohio River; the other side of the forks was dominated by Indians. The British used the fort to drive out the French to ensure the new continent would be British controlled. The fort was later a safe house for settlers escaping Indian raids. Fort Bedford was “liberated” ten years before the Revolution by American rebels, James Smith's Black Boys, and was the first fort taken from the British. The fort later collapsed and was reconstructed in 1958.
George Washington marched his army to Bedford in 1794 to subdue the Whiskey Rebellion. There was much more at stake than quieting the uprising of rebels angered by a tax on whiskey; Washington felt the constitution itself was at risk. The rebellion mainly consisted of farmers who learned they could earn more selling whiskey instead of grain. The Rebellion spread fast and when it reached Pittsburgh they almost burnt the city to the ground. Anarchy was on its way; the British and French watched every move hoping they could come back and take over. Washington knew he had to act and make a statement; the laws of America would be obeyed. 12,950 militiamen were called to Bedford leaving the rebels without many choices. One historian later stated, “It was at Bedford that the new federal government was finally to establish itself as sovereign in its own time and place.
Bedford, at one time, was famous for its medicinal springs. There is a mineral spring, a chalybeate spring, a limestone spring, a sulfur spring and two sweet springs. In the year 1804, a mechanic from Bedford, Jacob Fletcher, drank some of the water. The rheumatic pains and ulcers he had been suffering from troubled him less that night. From then on he often drank from the spring and soaked his limbs in the water. In a few weeks he was entirely cured. News spread and the “healing springs” quickly became popular.
The finding of the curative springs led Dr. John Anderson to purchase the nearby land and build a spa in 1804. Due to the lack of medicines in that time, people from great distances flocked to the hotel in search of a cure for their illness. The Bedford Springs Hotel was the first place in America to have an Olympic sized pool. President James Buchanan also made it his “summer White House”. While Buchanan was there the first trans-Atlantic cable message was sent to his room from Queen Victoria on August 17, 1858. The hotel, in 1855, also housed the only Supreme Court hearing ever to be held outside of the capital.
Chalybeate Springs Hotel, along with the nearby Bedford Springs Hotel, were popular resorts during the 19th century among the wealthy. President James Buchanan used Bedford Springs as his summer White House. Other notable visitors to Bedford Springs included William Henry Harrison, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, and Thaddeus Stevens. Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison visited Chalybeate Springs Hotel, as did many other notable people.
U.S. Route 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway, passes through Bedford. Up until the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 1940, U.S. Route 30 was key east-west route connecting Philadelphia to the west. In 1927, David Koontz built a coffee pot-shaped building, which was originally a diner. This building, a landmark in Bedford, was moved in 2003 to the Bedford County Fairgrounds.
Bedford is located at .(40.016361, −78.504071)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), all land.
The yearly event of the Fall Foliage Festival is held in the beginning of October on the first two weekends of the month. The celebration stretches from Penn Street, down Juliana Street, to the Park by the Fort Bedford Museum. The event includes many vendors, touring of the Fort, the Children's Theater, pony rides, and an Antique Car Show.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,141 people, 1,536 households, and 832 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,830.8 people per square mile (1,092.6/km²). There were 1,640 housing units at an average density of 1,478.0 per square mile (570.5/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.71% White, 0.51% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.
There were 1,536 households out of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 40.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 2.76.
In the borough the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 22.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 80.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.5 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $28,549, and the median income for a family was $39,122. Males had a median income of $29,148 versus $21,375 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,028. About 8.5% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.6% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
Bedford County Airport is a public use airport in Bedford County. It is owned by the Bedford County Airport Authority and is located four nautical miles (7.4 km) north of the central business district of the borough of Bedford.
- Hometown Magazine
- Bedford Gazette
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Bedford County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project. "Bedford County History".
- Bedford County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project. "Bedford County summer capital of the U.S.".
- Foster, Margaret (December 1, 2003). "Giant Coffee Pot Will Be Moved to Safety". Preservation Online (National Preservation Trust).
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Ned Frear, The Bedford Story: Fort Bedford (Pennsylvania: Gazette Publishing Company, 1998)
- Ned Frear, The Bedford Story: The Whiskey Rebellion (Pennsylvania: Gazette Publishing Company, 1998)
- Ned Frear, The Bedford Story: The Bedford Springs (Pennsylvania: Gazette Publishing Company, 1998)
- Carol Eddleman and Nathan Zipfel. "Bedford County Genealogy Project". Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-11.
- History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, (Chicago, 1884)
- History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, (New York, 1906)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bedford, Pennsylvania.|
- Bedford Speedway
- The National Museum of the American Coverlet
- Cannondale Bicycle Corporation
- The Fall Foliage Festival