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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
Seal
Nickname(s): 
The World's Best Little Town
Motto(s): 
Life. Liberty. Happiness.
Location in Virginia
Location in Virginia
Country United States
State Virginia
County Bedford County
Area
 • Total 8.75 sq mi (22.67 km2)
 • Land 8.72 sq mi (22.59 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
Elevation
1,004 ft (306 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 6,222
 • Estimate 
(2019)
6,597
 • Density 756.28/sq mi (291.99/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
24523
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-05544
GNIS feature ID 1498450
Website http://www.bedfordva.gov

Bedford is an incorporated town and former independent city 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 6,222. 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.

Geography

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.

Bedford sits at the feet of the Peaks of Otter.

Demographics

D-Day National Memorial
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 6,222 −1.2%
2019 (est.) 6,597 6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2012

At the 2000 census there were 6,299 people in 2,519 households, including 1,592 families, 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 2,519 households, 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 households were one person, and 15.7% were one person aged 65 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% 65 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 household income was $29,792 and the median family income 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.

Climate

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.

International links

Bedford has a Friendship Treaty with:

Economy

Top employers

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

According to the town's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Wal-Mart 362
2 Centra Bedford Memorial Hospital 358
3 Bedford County Public Schools 301
4 Sam Moore Furniture LLC 199
5 Bedford Weaving Mills 138
6 Cintas 130
7 Lowes 117
8 Smyth Companies Bedford 108
9 English Meadows AKA Elks National Home 87
10 Food Lion 65

Education

Bedford is served by Bedford County Public Schools, which operates Liberty High School and Liberty Middle School in the community. Fifteen elementary schools feed students into these and two other pairs of middle and high schools elsewhere in the county.

Central Virginia Community College also has a branch campus in Bedford.

Transportation

U.S. Route 221 runs through the town; and U.S. Route 460 circumvents the main part of town. State routes 43 and 122 converge onto the town.

Until the late 1960s there were three different Southern Railway/Norfolk & Western Railroad trains operating daily at Bedford station.

  • Birmingham Special—New York City to Birmingham, and branch to Memphis
  • Pelican—New York to New Orleans
  • Tennessean—Washington to Memphis

However, the newly restored Amtrak service to Roanoke does not make stops at Bedford.

Notable people

  • F.W. Caulkins, architect
  • Lawrence Chambers, the first African American to command a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and the first African American graduate of the Naval Academy to reach flag rank.
  • The "Bedford Boys", 34 local men who served in the National Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment during the amphibious landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day in World War II.
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