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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BEDFORD - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BEDFORD, incorporated as a town in 1837 and as a city in 1930, is about 12 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland, bounded by MAPLE HEIGHTS on the northwest, the Bedford Reservation of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS on the southwest, OAKWOOD on the south, and BEDFORD HEIGHTS on the east. Originally part of Bedford Twp. (est. 1823), it comprises about 5.5 sq. mi. The rushing waterfall of TINKER'S CREEK, a tributary of the CUYAHOGA RIVER, powered the first gristmill (1815), and other industries. In 1816 Benjamin Fitch arrived and began making splint-bottom chairs, developing the industry that eventually became TAYLOR CHAIR CO. (est. 1844, inc. 1885). Bedford was named by Daniel Benedict after his home town in Connecticut. The population in 1840 was 2,021. Hezekiah Dunham plotted the town center, with lots for a public square, town hall, and a school; Dunham's own house remains opposite the square. The town hall (1874) became the home of the BEDFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY after the dissolution of the township in 1951. Bedford was the birthplace of ARCHIBALD M. WILLARD†, painter of the SPIRIT OF `76, and the home of Dr. THEODATUS A. GARLICK†, eminent surgeon and scientist. The opening of the OHIO AND ERIE CANAL (1827) and the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad (1852) encouraged industrial development. In 1901 the 100' high stone arch railroad viaduct, built in 1864 over Tinker's Creek, was largely buried with fill when the rail line relocated; in 1993 the State Department of Transportation planned to develop the viaduct area as a park. In 1881 the Connotton Valley Railroad opened through Bedford; the Akron, Bedford & Cleveland interurban line operated between 1895 and 1932 (see INTERURBANS). Local INDUSTRY included the B. L. Marble Co. (inc. 1894), HOLSEY GATES†'s Bedford Roller Mill (1876-1908), the McMyler-Interstate Co. (pioneers in the design, development, and manufacturing of ore- and coal-handling equipment), Owen Tire & Rubber, Bedford Distillery, and, after World War II, manufacturers of machine parts, china, and precision instruments. The City of Bedford adopted a charter and the city manager plan of government (effective 1932). The population in 1940 was 7,390. The Vincentian Sisters of Charity came to Bedford in 1928, erecting the Villa San Bernardo in 1932. With a population of 14,822 in 1995, Bedford had 16 churches, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant denominations, and was home to the Southeast Branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM (CCPL). By 2000 the population had contracted slightly to 14, 214. In spring 2003 the city hall moved into a new municipal complex, constructed at 165 Center Road.

Hubbell, Ned. Life in Bedford (1971).

See also SUBURBS.

Last Modified: 11 May 2003 05:54:17 PM

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