A Rich History of Patriotism
Published July 2011
Located in west-central Virginia, about 200 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., Bedford is a city that honors and celebrates both its history and its geography. This city of 6,300 hosts the only World War II monument of its kind in the U.S., and its location at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains places it among some of the most spectacular natural beauty in North America.
Bedford, the county seat of Bedford County, has been providing electricity to its citizens for over 110 years, before it was even known as Bedford. The city was founded in 1792 as the village of Liberty, then became Bedford City in 1890. In 1968, the name was changed again to the City of Bedford, and the town became an independent city under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Bedford Electric Department, established in 1899, today serves more than 6,600 meters. It operates and maintains 11 substations and a 5 MW hydroelectric plant on the nearby James River. It also participates in the Prairie State Energy Campus project in Illinois. This state-of-the art generating station will soon become a valuable power asset to Bedford and other communities in an eight-state area.
Bedford is known for having lost the most soldiers of any American town during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. Known as the “Bedford Boys,” who are immortalized in both best-selling books and films, these men served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division.
Fittingly, Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial, an 88-acre complex on the city’s highest hill at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains that pays tribute to the sacrifice of all Allied D-Day participants. More than 1.2 million visitors have toured the memorial since it opened in 2001.
Bedford County is home to Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, a plantation home that served as his private retreat. Jefferson designed the octagonal house, one of America’s first, and oversaw its construction during his presidency. Designated a National Historic Landmark, Poplar Forest has attracted visitors from across the globe and was recently nominated to become a World Heritage Site.
Bedford is called the Christmas Capital of Virginia because of its elaborate light displays. These include the Elks National Home’s 50,000-light display viewed by an estimated 100,000 visitors each year. The city also hosts the Bedford Festival of Trees and Holiday Nights in Centertown Bedford, a popular National Historic District filled with charming 19th century buildings, antique and specialty stores, art galleries and cafes.
Visit Bedford’s website