Bedford (pop. 3,141) is the seat of Bedford County (pop. 49,984), and is located halfway between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh east-west (105 miles) and Altoona and Cumberland MD north-south (40 miles) at the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-99, U.S. 220 and U.S. 30 (Lincoln Highway). Bedford has an urban cluster population of 4,592. Situated in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province of South-Central Pennsylvania, Bedford is tucked into a narrow valley between Kinton Knob and Evitts Mountain.
Settled in 1751 and laid out in 1766, Bedford was a strategic location during America's late-colonial and early federal history. Originally called Raystown, the British Army established Fort Bedford there in 1758, one of a string of forts extending west across Penn's Woods to protect British supply chains during General Forbes expedition to oust the French from Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio (Pittsburgh). In the following years, the star-shaped log fort protected settlers from Indian raids during Pontiac's Rebellion. However, Fort Bedford was then attacked by rebel settlers known as the "Black Boys" in 1765, unhappy with British policy to reopen trade with the Native American tribes involved in raids targeting settlers in the Bedford area.
In 1794, President George Washington marched a militia force of 12,500 to Bedford in order to quell insurrectionists displeased with the federal excise tax on whiskey (Whiskey Rebellion). Washington established a headquarters at the Espy House in Bedford. This was an important early test of federal authority.
In the 1850s, President James Buchanan established his "summer White House" at Bedford Springs two miles south of Bedford. The mineral springs there were renowned for their "healing powers", and a resort/spa was established in 1806. In 1855, the Bedford Springs Hotel was the site of the only Supreme Court hearing held outside the capital.
Bedford long produced Cannondale bicycles, but production was moved to Taiwan in 2009.
A very old and well-preserved town, Bedford has a wealth of architecture ranging from Federalist to Greek Revival to Victorian... and even some nice Gothic Revival and Art Deco examples. The town is a big tourist draw and is quite lively.
The Bedford County Courthouse was built in 1828 and is the oldest courthouse still in use in Pennsylvania.
two local youths were perplexed that I would take a photo of their neighborhood gas station...
Pitt St. is the business district
the Union Hotel was built in 1835
built in 1771
at right is the Espy House... built in 1771... in 1794 President George Washington used it as his Bedford headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion
HeBrews Coffee Company
Bedford has a thriving banjo scene
Downtown movie theater, multiple candy stores, everything tea!!!! what else does one need!?
a gorgeous former hotel (now senior apts)
a lush street
it must really be inspiring to come from a town where every single building is a carefully crafted work of art
heading south of town...
...we arrive at the Bedford Springs Hotel
the resort catered to elites, including 7 presidents throughout the 19th and most of the 20th century... it also served as a detention center for interned Japanese diplomats during WW2... but it eventually fell on hard times and closed in 1981 and subsequently fell into disrepair.
From 2004-2007, Bedford Springs underwent a $120 million renovation and reopened in 2007. It was purchased by Omni in 2009.
golf in the Pennsylvania mountains
James Buchanan slept here... many many times
dangerously taking a photo while driving... a few miles west of Bedford exists the Jean Bonnet Tavern... built in 1762, it is easily one of the oldest buildings in Western Pennsylvania... it caught me by surprise... hence the hurried photo
Bedford County is full of covered bridges
here's one further south near the Mason-Dixon line