Bedford, Virginia

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Bedford, Virginia
incorporated town
The town of Bedford on a typical fall evening.
The town of Bedford on a typical fall evening.
Official seal of Bedford, Virginia
Nickname(s): The World's Best Little Town
Motto: The Perfect Town to Live + Work + Play
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Coordinates: 37°20′04″N 79°31′23″W / 37.33444°N 79.52306°W / 37.33444; -79.52306
Country United States
State Virginia
 • Mayor Robert Wandrei
 • Total 6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)
 • Land 6.9 sq mi (17.8 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,004 ft (306 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 6,222
 • Density 914.5/sq mi (353.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24523
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-05544[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498450[2]

Bedford is an incorporated town located within Bedford County in the U.S. state of Virginia. It serves as the county seat of Bedford County. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,622.[3] It is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Known as the "place that sells itself," Bedford boasts the Blue Ridge Mountains to the North, Smith Mountain Lake to the South, Lynchburg to the East, and I-81/Roanoke to the West.

Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial (despite the "National" in its name, the memorial is owned and operated by a non-governmental, non-profit, education foundation). The United States Congress warranted that this memorial would be the nation's D-Day Memorial and President Bill Clinton authorized this effort in September 1996. President George W. Bush dedicated this memorial as the nation's D-Day memorial on June 6, 2001. Bedford lost more residents per capita in the Normandy landings than any other American community. Nineteen soldiers from Bedford, whose 1944 population was about 3,200, were killed on D-Day. Three other Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign. Proportionally this community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses.[4]

Bedford maintains relationships with 11 communities on the Normandy Coast of France. One sister city, Trévières, France, sent Bedford an exact replica of its own World War I memorial statue. The face of the statue was damaged in World War II by artillery fire from US forces retaking the town. The Bedford statue also bears these wounds and is erected on the grounds of the National D-Day Memorial. Bedford is also home to Poplar Forest, the rural retreat of Thomas Jefferson. These and other factors have given rise to Bedford as "the place that sells itself."

Bedford was originally known as Liberty, "named after the Colonial victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown." [5] Founded as a village in 1782, Liberty became Bedford County's seat of government, replacing New London which had become part of the newly formed Campbell County. Liberty became a town in 1839 and in 1890 changed its name to Bedford City. In 1912 Bedford reverted to town status, then in 1968, again became a city.[6] On September 14, 2011, the Bedford City Council voted to transition into a town, ending its independent city status. The supervisors of Bedford County also voted to accept the town of Bedford as part of the county when it lost city status. The transition occurred on July 1, 2013.[7]


Bedford is located at 37°20′4″N 79°31′22″W / 37.33444°N 79.52278°W / 37.33444; -79.52278 (37.334591, -79.522783).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.9 square miles (18 km2), of which 6.9 square miles (18 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (0.3%) is water.[8]

Bedford sits at the feet of the Peaks of Otter.


The D-Day National Memorial, as viewed from the nearby visitor center
Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 722
1870 1,208 67.3%
1880 2,191 81.4%
1890 2,897 32.2%
1900 2,416 −16.6%
1910 2,508 3.8%
1920 3,243 29.3%
1930 3,713 14.5%
1940 3,973 7.0%
1950 4,061 2.2%
1960 5,921 45.8%
1970 6,011 1.5%
1980 5,991 −0.3%
1990 6,073 1.4%
2000 6,299 3.7%
2010 6,678 6.0%
Est. 2014 6,466 [9] −3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2012[3]

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 6,299 people, 2,519 households, and 1,592 families residing in the city. The population density was 914.5 persons per square mile (353.0/km²). There were 2,702 housing units at an average density of 392.3 per square mile (151.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.33% White, 22.38% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.89% of the population.

There were 2,519 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,792, and the median income for a family was $35,023. Males had a median income of $31,668 versus $18,065 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,423. About 11.4% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers[edit]

The cupola atop the Bedford County Court House was built in 1866.

According to the city's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Bedford Memorial Hospital 335
2 Bedford County Public Schools 315
3 Sam Moore Furniture 230
4 Brooks Food Group 175
5 Bedford Weaving 150
6 Cintas 130
7 Longwood Industries 125
8 Smyth Companies 120
9 Elks National Home 85
10 Winoa USA Inc. 50


The climate in this area is characterized by mild, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bedford has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[16]

International links[edit]

Bedford has a Friendship Treaty with:

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ Goldstein, Richard (23 April 2009). "Ray Nance, Last of the Bedford Boys, Dies at 94". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Bedford County Sheriff's Office, Welcome to Bedford County!
  6. ^ Bedford, Virginia Online, About the Town of Bedford
  7. ^ Faulconer, Justin (July 1, 2013). "Bedford reversion to town becomes official today". The News & Advance (Lynchburg, VA). Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  15. ^ City of Bedford CAFR
  16. ^ Climate Summary for Bedford, Virginia
  17. ^ Ivybridge International Links from the Ivybridge Town Guide
  18. ^ African American Flag Officers in the US Navy, Naval History and Heritage Command, accessed March 16, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°20′05″N 79°31′22″W / 37.334591°N 79.522783°W / 37.334591; -79.522783