Town of Bedford
The Town of Bedford is comprised of the hamlets of Bedford Hills, Bedford Village, and Katonah. Bedford is in north central and northeastern Westchester County, New York. For information about activities, attractions, and things to do in or near the Town of Bedford, visit the hamlets of Bedford at Bedford Village,
Bedford Hills, and
Town History of Bedford
"On December 23, 1680, 22 men from Stamford, Connecticut, founded the Town of Bedford when they purchased, fur coats, blankets, wampum and cloth, a tract of land three miles square known as the "Hopp Ground" from Chief Katonah and several other Indians.
"These proprietors from Stamford were New England Puritans who promptly set about to plan their new settlement providing for a meetinghouse, gristmill on the Mianus River and burying ground. Today's Village Green is one-third its original size but the graveyard and surrounding principal streets remain substantially as they were originally planned in 1681.
"Bedford was part of Connecticut in 1697 when a patent fixed the boundaries as a six-mile square and it wasn't until England's King William issued a royal degree in 1700, to settle a boundary dispute that Bedford became part of New York.
"The Town's importance grew during the Colonial period and served as the wartime Westchester County seat during the Revolutionary War after the Battle of White Plains and until Bedford was burned by the British on July 11, 1779. After the Revolution, Bedford became one of two seats of County government, alternating with White Plains until 1870. The Court House in Bedford Village, built in 1787 and renovated in the 1960s, is Westchester County's oldest government building."
"The original 1680 Bedford settlement was in Bedford Village in the southeastern portion of the Town, with its Village Green and historic buildings dating to the 18th and early 19th centuries. Among these are the 1787 Court House and several homes built after the British burned the village during the Revolution. In 1972, the Bedford Village Historic District was established by local ordinance and is listed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places. The burying ground, established in 1681, was apparently still in use after the Colonial period as the latest headstone dates to 1885. A museum in the Court House is open to the public."
"Katonah, in the northwestern part of Bedford, saw its Historic District, in 1983, listed on the State and National registers of Historic Places. This district encompasses the Bedford Road area, a section of the hamlet designed by landscape architects, G.S. and B.S. Olmstead. Noted for its Victorian architecture, Katonah now stands somewhat south of where the original hamlet was located and before it was obliged to move in the late 1890s to make way for the expansion of the New York City watershed when the Muscoot Reservoir was built. Fifty houses were moved to their present sites in the hamlet. Katonah is widely known as home to Caramoor, Katonah Museum of Art and the John Jay Homestead, retirement home of John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court."
"Once known as Bedford Station when the railroad was built in 1847, Bedford Hills extends from its bustling business center at the railroad station to farms and estates as it spreads eastward along Harris, Babbitt and Bedford Center roads and south along the busy Route 117 business corridor toward Mt. Kisco. This hamlet is the site of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the largest women's prison in New York State. Bedford Hills is also the seat of Town government and home to the Town House, built in 1927, and several other Town buildings where the Police Department and Town offices are located."
Source of Town and Hamlet History : Town of Bedford
History And Antiquities
The following covers "History and Antiquities", a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, and anecdotes about Westchester County and its towns. When reading the following, remember to keep in mind that this information has been written about two hundred years ago. Population statistics and events have not been revised to reflect current events and perspective. We think this adds to the historical flavor and interest of the writings, giving a different perspective on much of this information and written in an "older world" writing style. "Historical Collections of the State of New York", Published by S. Tuttle, 194 Chatham-Square, 1841
"Bedford, from New York NE, 44 miles, was first settled under a Connecticut license in 1681 or 1682, at a place called the hop-ground, on account of its natural product. The original patent, dated 1697, bears the Connecticut seal, and it was not until 1700 that the settlement was attached to New York by order of King William. Bedford, the half-shire town, has a courthouse and about 45 dwellings. Whitlockville is a small village."
First Chief-Justice of the United States
John Jay during the latter part of his life resided in the northern part of this town. The annexed sketch of his life is from Blake's Biographical Dictionary: "John Jay, LL.D., first chief-justice of the United States under the constitution of 1789, graduated at Kings, (now Columbia College) in 1764 and in 1768 was admitted to the bar. He was appointed to the first American congress in 1774. Being on the committee with Lee and Livingston to draft an address to the people of Great Britain, he was the writer of the eloquent production. In the congress of 1775, he was on various important committees, performing more service perhaps than any other member except Franklin and John Adams. In May, 1776, he was recalled to assist in forming the government of New York, and in consequence his name is not attached to the declaration of Independence . . . though not a member of the convention that formed the constitution of the United States, he was present at Annapolis and aided by his advice. He also assisted Madison and Hamilton in writing the Federalist. In the convention of New York he contributed to the adoption of the constitution. He was appointed chief justice by Washington, December 26, 1789. In 1794, he was appointed minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, and succeeded in negotiating the treaty, which still goes, by his name. Chief-Justice John Jay was governor of the state of New York from 1795 to 1801. The remainder of his life passed in retirement. He died in 1829, aged 84."
About Bedford Village Today
Enjoy a day of history at
Bedford Village Memorial Park. At the Village Memorial Park, you can look around and see hundreds of years of history. Visit
Bedford Historic Hall, c1806 walk across Bedford Village Green and you can see the
Bedford Historic Post office c1838, or imagine what it was like when children went to school in the
Bedford Historic School House c1829. For dining out, select one of several excellent
restaurants in Bedford, New York.
About Bedford Hills Today
Visit Bedford Hills Park or Rosaforte Park in Bedford Hills. Bedford Hills Park offers many things to do including, baseball, basketball, fishing, a playground, and for those hot summer days enjoy the swimming pools in Bedford Hills Park. Winter activities include ice skating at the park.
Go biking, hiking, or fishing, take a short drive and go to the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The Ward Pound Reservation is a 4,315-acre park making Ward Pound Ridge Reservation the county’s largest park. With its varied terrain and landscapes and miles of wooded trails the park provides a variety of activities in all seasons. There are areas for picnicking, lean-to camping, fishing and cross-country skiing. The park is home to the Trailside Nature Museum, which hosts weekend nature interpretive programs year-round.
About Katonah Today
For a fun day out with the kids, visit historic sites in Katonah. For music and art enjoy the excellence of outstanding music events at Caramoor. Take the train from Grand Central Station to the train station in Katonah. The train station is located near charming shops, excellent restaurants, and historic Victorian homes.
If you enjoy historic sites, be sure to visit the
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site. Children of all ages will enjoy visiting this historic site.
For music, art, festivals, and history, visit
Caramoor in Katonah. With its outstanding performances, engaging arts-in-education programming, the extraordinary Rosen House, and beautiful grounds, Caramoor is a cornerstone of the cultural life of Westchester County.