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Bedford, New Hampshire
Town
Bedford Presbyterian Church
Bedford Presbyterian Church
Official seal of Bedford, New Hampshire
Seal
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Incorporated 1750
Area
 • Total 33.1 sq mi (85.6 km2)
 • Land 32.8 sq mi (84.9 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)  0.85%
Elevation
308 ft (94 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 23,322
 • Density 711/sq mi (274.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
03110
Area code 603
FIPS code 33-011-04500
GNIS feature ID 0873541

Bedford is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 23,322, reflecting a growth of 10% from 2010. Bedford is a suburb of Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city.

History

In 1733, Massachusetts established Bedford as "Narragansett, No. 5" for the benefit of soldiers who fought against the Narragansett Indians in Rhode Island. The area was also known as "Souhegan East". The settlement was incorporated as Bedford in 1750, and was named for Lord Russell, the Fourth Duke of Bedford. Lord Russell was the Secretary of State for the Southern Department from 1748-1751 and a close friend of Governor Benning Wentworth, whose first wife, Diana Spencer, was cousin to the Duke of Marlborough.

The first settlers in Bedford were Robert and James Walker III. A monument dated 1737 stands on what is now known as Station Road (adjacent to Hawthorne Drive), marking the first settlement. Bedford's first moderator was Mayor John Goffe, son of Colonel John Goffe, for whom Goffstown was named.

In 1874, Bedford was served by Concord Railroad, and service by the Manchester and Ashburnham Railroad was being planned.

Like much of southeastern New Hampshire, Bedford has grown rapidly over the last fifty years. The 2000 population of 18,274 was over eight times the population in 1950 of 2,176. Every decade has had a substantial rate of growth, ranging from 33 percent between 1980–1990 to a 67 percent increase between 1950-60. The 2005 population estimate by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning was 20,738 residents, which ranked 13th among New Hampshire's incorporated cities and towns.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.1 square miles (86 km2), of which 32.8 sq mi (85 km2) is land and 0.3 sq mi (0.78 km2) is water, comprising 0.85% of the town. The largest body of water other than the Merrimack River is Sebbins Pond, which is connected to smaller, neighboring bodies of water by Sebbins Brook. Bedford is bordered by the town of Goffstown and the city of Manchester to the north, by Manchester to the east across the Merrimack River, by the town of Merrimack to the south, and by the towns of Amherst and New Boston to the west.

A rock formation called Pulpit Rock (originally the Devil's Pulpit) is located in the northwest part of the town on New Boston Road and is the feature of the town-owned Pulpit Rock Conservation Area. The highest point in Bedford is Holbrook Hill, at 845 feet (258 m) above sea level, located in the extreme northwest corner of town. Bedford lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 898
1800 1,182 31.6%
1810 1,296 9.6%
1820 1,375 6.1%
1830 1,554 13.0%
1840 1,549 −0.3%
1850 1,914 23.6%
1860 1,172 −38.8%
1870 1,221 4.2%
1880 1,204 −1.4%
1890 1,102 −8.5%
1900 1,148 4.2%
1910 1,110 −3.3%
1920 1,118 0.7%
1930 1,326 18.6%
1940 1,561 17.7%
1950 2,176 39.4%
1960 3,636 67.1%
1970 5,859 61.1%
1980 9,481 61.8%
1990 12,563 32.5%
2000 18,274 45.5%
2010 21,203 16.0%
2020 23,322 10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
2020 Census Demographics
Race Percentage
White, not Hispanic or Latino 86%
Asian 7%
Hispanic or Latino 3%
Black or African American 2%

As of the census of 2020, there were 23,322 people residing in the town. The population density was 707 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 86.1% White, 1.5% African American, 1.2% Native American, 7.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from some other race, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.

As of the census of 2010, There were 7,364 households, out of which 40.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.8% were headed by married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.8% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the town, the age distribution of the population shows 28.6% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 21.4% from 25 to 44, 31.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

For the period 2006–2010, the median income for a household in the town was $116,299 (in 2010 dollars), and the median income for a family was $127,589. Full-time male workers had median earnings of $99,366 versus $53,286 for females. The per capita income for the town was $50,952. About 2.7% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 1.0% of those age 65 or over. Bedford had the fifth highest average personal income in the state between 2006 and 2010.

Education

There are six schools in Bedford: Memorial Elementary School (National Blue Ribbon School awardee in 2012), Peter Woodbury Elementary School, and Riddle Brook Elementary (National Blue Ribbon School awardee in 2017) are neighborhood elementary schools that serve grades K through 4. McKelvie Intermediate School accommodates grades 5 and 6. Ross A. Lurgio Middle School and Bedford High School have served grades 7–8 and 9–12, respectively, since their establishment in 2007.

Ross A. Lurgio Middle School and Bedford High School comprise one 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m2) building. The unified construction aimed to take advantage of economies of scale by allowing the schools to share a kitchen, an auditorium, and security guards, but they operate as separate schools with different entrances, bus schedules, start times and end times. Additionally, key-controlled access is required to move between schools.

A small number of athletic fields on the campus of Saint Anselm College are located in Bedford.

Transportation

Two major highways run through Bedford. The Everett Turnpike runs north-south, and Route 101 runs east-west. The segment of the Everett Turnpike north of NH 101 and the segment of NH 101 east of the Everett Turnpike are designated Interstate 293; I-293 turns at this interchange.

The portion of Route 101 in eastern Bedford is a freeway, while the majority of the route through Bedford and to the west is a surface road. US 3 and Route 114 also run through Bedford.

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is one town away, in Manchester.

Notable people

  • Silas Aiken (1799–1869), minister, author
  • David Atwood (1815–1889), newspaperman, U.S. congressman from Wisconsin; born in Bedford
  • Chris Carpenter (born 1975), pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Zachariah Chandler (1813–1879), U.S. Secretary of the Interior 1875–1877, U.S. senator from Michigan; born in Bedford
  • John Goffe (1701–1786), colonial soldier, other names, "Hunter John"
  • Carrie Jones (born 1982), bestselling author of young adult novels; born in Bedford
  • Dean Kamen (born 1951), inventor of the Segway HT and the iBOT; owner of Manchester-based DEKA Corporation
  • Grant Lavigne (born 1999), minor-league baseball player in the Colorado Rockies system
  • Josh Meyers (born 1976), actor, comedian
  • Seth Meyers (born 1973), comedian, talk-show host (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers)
  • Mace Moulton (1796–1867), U.S. congressman 1845–1847 (D, NH-AL)
  • Rand Pecknold (born 1967), Quinnipiac men's ice hockey coach, 500-game winner in NCAA ice hockey
  • Patricia Racette (born 1965), opera singer
  • Laura Silverman (born 1966), actress, older sister of actress and comedian Sarah Silverman
  • Sarah Silverman (born 1970), comedian, voice actress, writer
  • John E. Sununu (born 1964), Republican U.S. senator (2003–2009); older brother of current New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu
  • Peter Woodbury (1899–1970), judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Inventors:
Shirley Ann Jackson
Garett Morgan
J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.
Elijah McCoy
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