Bedford County, Pennsylvania

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Bedford County, Pennsylvania
Bedford County Courthouse Pennsylvania.jpg
Bedford County Courthouse
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bedford County
Location in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Founded March 9, 1771
Named for Fort Bedford
Seat Bedford
Largest borough Bedford
 • Total 1,017 sq mi (2,634 km2)
 • Land 1,012 sq mi (2,621 km2)
 • Water 4.6 sq mi (12 km2)
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 48,946
 • Density 49/sq mi (19/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Designated October 17, 1982[1]

Bedford County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,762.[2] The county seat is Bedford.[3]


Robert MacRay opened the first trading post in Raystown (which is now Bedford) on the land that is now Bedford County in 1750. The settlers had a difficult time dealing with raids from Indians and the fighting between the French and the British.

In 1759, after the capture of Fort Duquesne in Allegheny County, a road was built between the fort (which was renamed to Fort Pitt) to the newly built Fort Bedford in Raystown. This road followed Indian trails and became "Forbes Road" which passed through Bedford and 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 the Fort Bedford.

The area quickly increased in population once safety became more established. The land with its lush farmland and woodland became an attractive site. It also formed an important center on the way to Pittsburgh and farther west of Pennsylvania. George Washington stayed in the county in response to the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

View from Glade Pike on Dry Ridge.

The Bedford Springs Hotel became an important site for the wealthy. Under President James Buchanan, the hotel became the summer White House. The U.S. Supreme Court met at the hotel once. It was the only time that the high court met outside of the Capital.

The 19th century featured a population boom in the county with the population doubling in size between 1870 and 1890. Railroads passing 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.[4]


Adjacent counties


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). (PA Geological Survey Map 13)

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. [1].

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 [2]. 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. [3].

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. (PA Geological Survey Map 10)

Law and government

County Commissioners

  • Joshua D. Lang, Chairman (Republican)
  • Barry L. Dallara, Vice Chairman (Republican)
  • S. Paul Crooks, Secretary (Democrat)

State Senate

State House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives


As of November 2014, there are 32,327 registered voters in Bedford County.[5]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 13,132
1800 12,039 −8.3%
1810 15,746 30.8%
1820 20,248 28.6%
1830 24,502 21.0%
1840 29,335 19.7%
1850 23,052 −21.4%
1860 26,736 16.0%
1870 29,635 10.8%
1880 34,929 17.9%
1890 38,644 10.6%
1900 39,468 2.1%
1910 38,879 −1.5%
1920 38,277 −1.5%
1930 37,309 −2.5%
1940 40,809 9.4%
1950 40,775 −0.1%
1960 42,451 4.1%
1970 42,353 −0.2%
1980 46,784 10.5%
1990 47,919 2.4%
2000 49,976 4.3%
2010 49,762 −0.4%
Est. 2014 48,946 [6] −1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[2]

As of the census[11] 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.

County poverty demographics

According to research by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which is a legislative Agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the poverty rate for Bedford County was 13.6% in 2014.[12] The statewide poverty rate was 13.6% in 2014. The 2012 childhood poverty rate by school district was: Bedford Area School District - 36.1% living at 185% or below than the Federal Poverty Level, Chestnut Ridge School District - 44.7%, Everett Area School District - 50.5%, Northern Bedford County School District - 42.4% and Tussey Mountain School District - 57.1%.[13]

Live birth rate

Bedford County's live birth rate was 560 births in 1990. The County's live birth rate in 2000 was 592 births, while in 2011 it had declined sharply to 484 babies.[14] Over the past 50 years (1960 to 2010), rural Pennsylvania saw a steady decline in both the number and proportion of residents under 18 years old. In 1960, 1.06 million rural residents, or 35 percent of the rural population, were children. Pennsylvania’s birth rate has been declining for two decades. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in 1990, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s birth rate was 171,053.[15] In 2000, Pennsylvania’s birth rate was 145,874.[16] Finally in 2011, the State’s birth rate declined further to 142,021.[17] From 2000 to 2009, the number of babies born in rural counties declined 5 percent.[18]


The largest ancestry groups are listed below, expressed as a percentage of total people who responded with a particular ancestry for the 2008–2012 American Community Survey:[11]

  • 34% German
  • 21% Unclassified or not
  • 11% American
  • 8% Other groups
  • 6% Irish
  • 5% English
  • 3% Italian
  • 2% Dutch
  • 1% Pennsylvania German
  • 1% Polish
  • 1% French (except Basque)
  • 1% Scottish
  • 1% Scottish-Irish
  • 1% Welsh
  • 1% Swiss


Map of Bedford County, Pennsylvania School Districts

Public school districts

Public Charter Schools

Pennsylvania resident students may also attend any of the Commonwealth's 13 public cyber charter schools which provide instruction via computers and the Internet.[19]

Public Vo Tech School

Bedford County Technical Center

Private schools

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).

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.[20]

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" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Voter Registration Statistics. Retrieved on 2014-11-04.
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-10-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. US Census Bureau (2015). "Poverty Rates by County Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (2012). "Student Poverty Concentration 2012". no-break space character in |author= at position 13 (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Pennsylvania Department of Health, Birth Age County Reports 1990 and 2011, 2011
  15. Pennsylvania Department of Health, Health Statistics - Resident Live Birth rate by county, 1990
  16. Pennsylvania Department of Health, Health Statistics - Resident Live Birth rate by county, 2000
  17. Pennsylvania Department of Health, Health Statistics - Resident Live Birth rate by county, 2013
  18. Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Number of Children Decreasing, Number of Seniors Increasing in Rural Pennsylvania, July 2011
  19. Pennsylvania Department of Education (August 2015). "Charter Schools".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "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

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