Bedford, NH

Bedford, New Hampshire

Bedford, founded in 1750, is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 18,274 at the 2000 census. Bedford is a suburb of Manchester, the largest city in the state.


Established in 1730 as Narragansett Number 5 for the benefit of soldiers who fought against the Narragansett Indians in Rhode Island, it was regranted first as Souhegan East, then as Bedford in 1750. The town was named for Lord John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, Secretary of State for the Southern Department (1748–1751), and a close friend of Governor Benning Wentworth, whose first wife, Diana Spencer, was cousin to the Duke of Marlborough. Bedford's first moderator was Mayor John Goffe, son of Colonel John Goffe for whom Goffstown was named.

Like much of southeastern New Hampshire, Bedford has grown very quickly over the last fifty years. The 2000 population of 18,274 was over eight times the population in 1950 of 2,176. Every decade has had a substantial rate of growth, ranging from 33 percent between 1980-1990 to a 67 percent increase between 1950-1960. The 2005 population estimate by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning was 20,738 residents, which ranked 13th among New Hampshire's incorporated cities and towns.


Politically, Bedford votes solidly Republican, not having elected a Democrat to the state legislature since 1932. While it is one of the more politically conservative towns in the state, it also votes overwhelmingly to support the school budget each year at the town election.

Notable Inhabitants


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which is land and is water, comprising 0.85% of the town. The largest body of water other than the Merrimack River is Sebbins Pond, which is connected to smaller, neighboring bodies of water by Sebbins Brook. Bedford is bordered by the town of Goffstown and the city of Manchester to the north, by Manchester to the east across the Merrimack River, by the town of Merrimack to the south, and by the towns of Amherst and New Boston to the west.

A rock formation called Pulpit Rock (originally the Devil's Pulpit) is located in the northwest part of the town on New Boston Road and is the feature of the town-owned Pulpit Rock Conservation Area. The highest point in Bedford is Holbrook Hill, at above sea level, located in the extreme northwest corner of town. Bedford lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.


As of the Census of 2000, there were 18,274 people, 6,251 households, and 5,125 families residing in the town. The population density was 556.6 people per square mile (214.9/km²). There were 6,401 housing units at an average density of 195.0/sq mi (75.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.41% White, 0.32% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.

There were 6,251 households out of which 41.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.9% were married couples living together, 5.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.0% were non-families. 14.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the town the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $84,392, and the median income for a family was $91,868. Males had a median income of $69,987 versus $39,507 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,730. About 1.6% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over. According to the United States Census Bureau, Bedford has one of the highest average personal incomes in the state. .


There are six schools in Bedford: Memorial, Peter Woodbury and Riddle Brook are neighborhood schools and accommodate grades K through 4. McKelvie Intermediate School accommodates grades 5 and 6. In 2007, Lurgio Middle School (grades 7 and 8) and Bedford High School (grades 9 and 10) opened. Bedford students in grade 12 are tuitioned to Manchester High School West. In 2008, BHS will have grades 9 - 11, and in 2009 BHS will have a full class of students (9 - 12).

Lurgio Middle School and Bedford High School comprise one building. This was done to support economies of scale (shared kitchen, auditorium, security), but they operate as separate schools with different entrances, bus schedules, start times and end times. Additionally, key-controlled access is required to move between schools.

The new secondary school campus (Lurgio and BHS) was authorized in the 2005 town election as Bedford voted 4,410-2,060 (68% voter approval).

As of December 4, 2007, 547 P-4 students are enrolled at Memorial, 572 K-4 at Peter Woodbury and 626 K-4 students at Riddle Brook. At McKelvie Middle Intermediate, there are a grand total of 734 students; 386 5th graders and 348 6th graders. At Lurgio Middle School, there are 694 students; 326 7th graders and 368 8th graders. There are 588 students at the new Bedford High School; 319 9th freshmen and 269 sophomores. Not including the 441 students still enrolled in the Manchester School district, there are 3,761 students enrolled in the Bedford School District.


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