The town of Bedford on a typical fall evening.
The World's Best Little Town
Life. Liberty. Happiness.
Location in Virginia
|o Mayor||Steve Rush|
|o Total||8.74 sq mi (22.64 km2)|
|o Land||8.71 sq mi (22.57 km2)|
|o Water||0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)|
|Elevation||1,004 ft (306 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||755.68/sq mi (291.76/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1498450|
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.
Bedford was originally known as Liberty, "named after the Colonial victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown."  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, it resumed city status in 1968, and once more it reverted to a town in 2013.
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.
Bedford was designated as an independent city in 1968, but remained the county seat of Bedford County. Its status as an independent city was ended on July 1, 2013, returning to a town within Bedford County.
Bedford sits at the foot of the Peaks of Otter.
As of the census 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.
According to the city's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Bedford Memorial Hospital||395|
|2||Sam Moore Furniture LLC||275|
|4||Bedford County Public Schools||225|
|6||Bedford Weaving Mills||121|
|8||Smyth Companies Bedford||102|
|9||English Meadows AKA Elks National Home||75|
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.
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.
Bedford has a Friendship Treaty with:
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.