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Bedford County, Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bedford County
Bedford County Courthouse
Bedford County Courthouse
Official seal of Bedford County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bedford County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°01′N 78°29′W / 40.01°N 78.49°W / 40.01; -78.49
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedMarch 9, 1771
Named forFort Bedford
Largest boroughBedford
 • Total1,017 sq mi (2,630 km2)
 • Land1,012 sq mi (2,620 km2)
 • Water4.6 sq mi (12 km2)
 • Total47,577
 • Density47/sq mi (18/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district13th
DesignatedOctober 17, 1982[1]

Bedford County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 47,577.[2] The county seat is Bedford.[3]


In 1750 Robert MacRay, a Scots-Irish immigrant, opened the first trading post in Raystown (which is now Bedford) on the land that is now Bedford County. The early Anglo-American settlers had a difficult time dealing with raids from Native Americans. In 1754 fierce fighting erupted as Native Americans became allied with the British or French in the North American front, known as the French and Indian War, of the Seven Years' War between those nations in Europe.

In 1759, after the capture of Fort Duquesne in Allegheny County, on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, English colonists built a road between the fort (which was renamed as Fort Pitt) to the newly built Fort Bedford in Raystown. The English defeated the French in the war and took over their territories in North America east of the Mississippi River. Treaties with the Indians opened more land for future peaceful settlement.

This road followed and improved on ancient Indian trails. In later years it was widened and paved as "Forbes Road"; it is now Route 30. When the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built, this interstate toll road became the main highway through Bedford County.

Bedford County was created on March 9, 1771, from part of Cumberland County and named in honor of Fort Bedford. The 1767 Mason–Dixon line had stabilized the southern border with Maryland. In the aftermath of the American Revolution, the population increased largely due to emigration. Within a lifetime Old Bedford County was greatly reduced from its original boundaries. Huntingdon County was created on September 20, 1787, mainly from the north part of Bedford County, plus an addition of territory on the east (Big Valley, Tuscarora Valley) from Cumberland County. Somerset County was created from part of Bedford County on April 17, 1795. Centre was created on February 13, 1800, from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Northumberland counties. Cambria County was created on March 26, 1804, from parts of Bedford, Huntingdon, and Somerset Counties. Blair County was created on February 26, 1846, from parts of Huntingdon and Bedford Counties. Finally Fulton County was created on April 19, 1850, from part of Bedford County, setting the county at its current boundaries.

The land was developed into lush farms with woodlands. It was developed as a trading center on the way to Pittsburgh and farther west of Pennsylvania. In 1794 President George Washington came to the county in response to the Whiskey Rebellion.

View from Glade Pike on Dry Ridge.
View from Glade Pike on Dry Ridge.

In the late 19th century, the Bedford Springs Hotel became an important site for wealthy vacationers. It was built near natural springs that had been important to the Native Americans for hundreds of years. During the administration of President James Buchanan, he moved much of his administration to the hotel, which became the informal summer White House.[4] The U.S. Supreme Court met at the hotel once. It was the only time that the high court met outside of the capital[citation needed].

During the late 19th century, the county had a population boom, with the number of people doubling between 1870 and 1890. Railroads constructed through the town connected the county with the mining industry. The story of the Lost Children of the Alleghenies originates from Blue Knob State Park in the county.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,017 square miles (2,630 km2), of which 1,012 square miles (2,620 km2) is land and 4.6 square miles (12 km2) (0.5%) is water.[5] It has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and average monthly temperatures in Bedford borough range from 28.1 °F in January to 72.0 °F in July.[6]


Adjacent counties


Blue Knob Mountain (3,146 ft), from Helixville
Blue Knob Mountain (3,146 ft), from Helixville

Bedford County is situated along the western border of the Ridge and Valley physiographic province, which is characterized by folded and faulted sedimentary rocks of early to middle Paleozoic age. The northwestern border of the county is approximately at the Allegheny Front, a geological boundary between the Ridge and Valley Province and the Allegheny Plateau (characterized by relatively flat-lying sedimentary rocks of late Paleozoic age).[7]

The stratigraphic record of sedimentary rocks within the county spans from the Cambrian Warrior Formation to the Pennsylvanian Conemaugh Group (in the Broad Top area). No igneous or metamorphic rocks of any kind exist within the county.

The primary mountains within the county (From west to east: Wills, Evitts, Dunning, and Tussey mountains) extend from the southern border with Maryland to the northeast into Blair County, and are held up by the Silurian Tuscarora Formation, made of quartz sandstone and conglomerate. Chestnut Ridge is a broad anticline held up by the Devonian Ridgeley Member of the Old Port Formation, also made of sandstone and conglomerate. Broad Top, located north of Breezewood, is a plateau of relatively flat-lying rocks that are stratigraphically higher, and thus younger (Mississippian and Pennsylvanian), than most of the other rocks within the county (Cambrian through Devonian). Broad Top extends into Huntingdon County to the north and Fulton County to the east.

The Raystown Branch of the Juniata River is the main drainage in the northern two-thirds of the county. The river flows to the east through the mountains within the county through several water gaps caused by a group of faults trending east–west through the central part of the county. The river then turns north and flows into Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County. The southern third of the county is drained by several tributaries of the Potomac River. Both the Potomac and Juniata rivers are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Several limestone quarries exist in Bedford County, most of which are owned and operated by New Enterprise Stone and Lime Company. Quarry locations include Ashcom, New Paris, Kilcoin, and Sproul.[8]

Two coal fields exist within Bedford County. One is the Broad Top Field in the northeastern corner of the county, and the other is the Georges Creek Field along the southwestern border.[9] Both fields contain bituminous coal. There are abandoned mines in both areas and acid mine drainage is an environmental problem in the Broad Top area, where several fishless streams exist as a result of the discharge from the abandoned mines.[10]

Natural gas fields and storage areas exist in southeastern Bedford County, primarily within folded Devonian rocks south of Breezewood. Another deep gas field exists in the vicinity of Blue Knob on the border with Blair County to the north.[11]

Law and government

County Commissioners

  • Barry L. Dallara, Chairman (Republican)
  • Deb Baughman, Vice Chairwoman (Democratic)
  • Alan Frederick, Secretary (Republican)[12]

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives


Bedford County is overwhelmingly Republican, with that party winning the vote of nearly all presidential elections, recently by great margins. In 2016 and 2020, it was Donald Trump’s second strongest county in Pennsylvania, only after neighboring Fulton County.

United States presidential election results for Bedford County, Pennsylvania[13]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 23,025 83.39% 4,367 15.82% 218 0.79%
2016 19,552 82.59% 3,645 15.40% 478 2.02%
2012 16,702 76.79% 4,788 22.01% 260 1.20%
2008 16,124 71.51% 6,059 26.87% 365 1.62%
2004 16,606 73.22% 6,016 26.53% 57 0.25%
2000 13,598 69.97% 5,474 28.17% 363 1.87%
1996 10,064 55.52% 5,954 32.85% 2,109 11.63%
1992 9,216 48.98% 5,840 31.04% 3,761 19.99%
1988 11,123 65.55% 5,754 33.91% 92 0.54%
1984 13,085 70.57% 5,424 29.25% 34 0.18%
1980 10,930 66.57% 4,950 30.15% 539 3.28%
1976 9,355 57.97% 6,652 41.22% 131 0.81%
1972 11,243 73.30% 3,836 25.01% 259 1.69%
1968 10,482 63.46% 4,725 28.61% 1,311 7.94%
1964 7,968 46.47% 9,165 53.45% 14 0.08%
1960 12,542 67.42% 6,030 32.41% 32 0.17%
1956 11,423 65.37% 6,038 34.55% 13 0.07%
1952 9,419 63.93% 5,255 35.67% 60 0.41%
1948 6,028 61.02% 3,851 38.98% 0 0.00%
1944 8,703 62.40% 5,175 37.11% 68 0.49%
1940 8,864 54.38% 7,388 45.32% 49 0.30%
1936 9,014 49.58% 8,937 49.16% 230 1.27%
1932 6,597 54.29% 5,075 41.76% 480 3.95%
1928 9,602 81.60% 1,966 16.71% 199 1.69%
1924 6,154 61.72% 2,315 23.22% 1,502 15.06%
1920 5,800 61.67% 2,594 27.58% 1,011 10.75%
1916 3,729 50.79% 3,263 44.44% 350 4.77%
1912 1,140 15.52% 2,694 36.68% 3,510 47.79%
1908 4,784 57.03% 3,196 38.10% 408 4.86%
1904 5,364 61.16% 3,042 34.68% 365 4.16%
1900 4,790 57.24% 3,445 41.17% 133 1.59%
1896 4,983 57.17% 3,605 41.36% 128 1.47%
1892 4,301 53.08% 3,684 45.46% 118 1.46%
1888 4,287 52.19% 3,822 46.52% 106 1.29%

As of May 2021, there are 32,662 registered voters in Bedford County.[14]


Historical population
Census Pop.

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 49,762 people, 20,233 households, and 14,251 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km2). There were 23,954 housing units at an average density of 23 per square mile (9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.0% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. 0.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,233 households, out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.6% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.9 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.


Map of Bedford County, Pennsylvania School Districts
Map of Bedford County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Public school districts

Public Charter Schools

  • HOPE for Hyndman Charter School, Hyndman

Pennsylvania resident students may also attend any of the Commonwealth's 13 public cyber charter schools which provide instruction via computers and the Internet.[17]

Public Vo Tech School

Bedford County Technical Center

Private schools

  • Allegheny Valley Christian School, Schellsburg
  • Christian Light School, Bedford
  • Dry Hill Parochial School, Woodbury
  • Friends Cove Mennonite School, Bedford
  • Global Power Line Academy, Claysburg
  • Golden Rule School, Martinsburg
  • Learning Lamp at Everett, Everett
  • Little Learning Lamp
  • Lone Oak Mennonite School, New Enterprise
  • Noahs Ark Kindergarten, New Park
  • Snake Spring Valley Christian Academy, Inc, Everett
  • South Cove Parochial School, New Enterprise
  • Saint Thomas School, Bedford, Pennsylvania, Bedford
  • Sunny Slope School, Woodbury
  • Woodbury Mennonite School, Woodbury

Colleges or university

As reported in ED Names and Places directory maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Education August 2015


Major highways


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, Pennsylvania.


There are 3 Pennsylvania state parks in Bedford County.

The largest borough-owned park in the county is a 77-acre community park in Everett, Pennsylvania - open to the public and available for events. Mid State Trail (Pennsylvania) and Great Eastern Trail pass through Everett and Tenley Park.


Map of Bedford County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red) and Townships (white).
Map of Bedford County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red) and Townships (white).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in only one case (Bloomsburg, Columbia County), towns. The following boroughs and townships are located in Bedford County:



Census-designated places

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Bedford County.[18]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Population (2010 Census) Municipal type Incorporated
1 Bedford 2,841 Borough 1795
2 Everett 1,834 Borough 1860
3 Earlston 1,122 CDP
4 Hyndman 910 Borough 1877
5 Saxton 736 Borough 1867
6 Stonerstown 376 CDP
7 Schellsburg 338 Borough 1838
8 Manns Choice 300 Borough 1886
9 Woodbury 284 Borough 1868
10 Defiance 239 CDP
11 Hopewell 230 Borough 1895
12 Pleasantville 198 Borough 1871
13 New Paris 186 Borough 1882
14 Coaldale 161 Borough 1865
15 Rainsburg 133 Borough 1856
16 St. Clairsville 78 Borough 1867

See also


  1. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original (Searchable database) on March 21, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Bedford County, Pennsylvania". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Locke, Karen (2016). "The Rich History of Omni Bedford Springs". Omni Hotels.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State U".
  7. ^ "Geology" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  8. ^ Quarry locations[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Geology" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  10. ^ Acid Mine Drainage[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Geology" (PDF). Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Welcome to Bedford County, PA". Bedford County Commissioner's Office. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Voter Registration Statistics". Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2020".
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  17. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2015). "Charter Schools".
  18. ^ "2010 U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  • "THE KERNEL OF GREATNESS: An Informal Bicentennial History of Bedford County (Pennsylvania)", by Bedford County Heritage Commission (Author), B/W Illus (Illustrator), 1971, ASIN B000KYDYOE

External links

This page was last edited on 24 April 2022, at 14:33
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