Bedford, Iowa

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Bedford is a city in Taylor County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,620 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Taylor County[1]. Lake of Three Fires State Park is located a few miles northeast of Bedford.



The community is believed to have gotten its name from Thomas J. Bedford who was the first west bound Pony Express rider to deliver the mail on its final leg from Benicia, California to Oakland, California on April 23, 1861. Bedford is believed to have operated Bedfords Store and Trading Post in 1848 within the city limits. He moved to California later that year in the California Gold Rush.[2]

The community was called "Grove" when a post office was established on June 30, 1855. On June 24, 1856 it was changed to Bedford. Other histories have noted possible other sources of the name:[3]

The community was formally established as the county seat of Taylor County by a legislative act in 1853. The town was formally laid out on lots sold on July 4, 1853 (which at the time identified the community as "Bedforde"). According to town legend a barrel of whiskey was placed on the grounds and lots sold for $10 to $20 - although none of the lots were paid for at the time.[4]

The present Taylor County Courthouse was built in 1893.


Bedford is located at 40°40′6″N 94°43′16″W / 40.66833°N 94.72111°W / 40.66833; -94.72111 (40.668317, -94.721092)[5], along the East Fork of the One Hundred and Two River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.2 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 1,620 people, 691 households, and 422 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,007.2 people per square mile (388.5/km²). There were 769 housing units at an average density of 478.1/sq mi (184.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.15% White, 0.06% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.74% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

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