There are several structures within the Historic Business District that visitors can view. The 1894 Gates Handyside House at 762 Broadway was completed in 1893. The lovely Queen Anne style home is a private residence and is still occupied by a descendent of the original family. The Gates family were prominent business owners in early Bedford with a mill nearby at the Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek.
Across the street at 755 sits the Franklin Victorian House. The exterior has been restored for the public to enjoy while the interior has been adapted for reuse. Next door at 751 is a Craftsman Style yellow brick home built in 1910. Known as the Moody House after Dr. Anson E. Moody, a superintendent of Bedford Schools, the well made structure as a matching single garage made to complement the home.
The commercial business district reflects one and two-story commercial block buildings. Most of the structures were built between 1890 – 1920s. Several business owners have restored the facades of their buildings to reflect the period when the structures were constructed.
On North Park Street, facing Public Square is the ‘On-the-Square Buildings’. Currently, this is the home of Nature Stone but it originally was one of Bedford’s early automobile showrooms. The Art Deco style building housed Horton Chevrolet where a Chevy Pick-up could be purchased for $615 in 1939. The pick-up had a valve-in-head motor, 85 horsepower, hydraulic brakes and a 77″ body.
At the southwest corner of Bedford Public Square sits a non-contributing structure within the Historic Business District. It is covered in gray vinyl siding but if its walls could talk it would tell several tales. Known as the C & P Depot, the Cleveland Pittsburgh Railroad built the depot in 1852. Abraham Lincoln passed through Bedford on his way to Washington DC and spoke to the people of Bedford from this depot. Bedford men and boys left to fight in the Union Army from this depot. One of the most significant pieces of history associated with this depot is the story of Sara Lucy Bagby the last slave returned to her master under the Fugitive Slave Act. Bagby escaped her master and made it as far as Prospect Avenue in Cleveland before being apprehended. Word of her capture reached Bedford whose citizens were strong supporters of the Anti-slavery Movement and the Underground Railroad. Bedford citizens knew that Bagby would be returned via the C&P Railroad and were armed and ready when the train arrived. However, the Federal Marshall was aware of the situation and had extra marshals on board. The meeting resulted in a standoff. Bagby was returned to her master. After the Civil War, she married and lived in Pittsburgh. Lack of funding prevents the restoration of the building to its Eastlake style of architecture but, at least it sits protected under the modern siding.
There are several memorials on Bedford Public Square: A Tribute to Bedford born artist Archibald Willard; The Civil War Memorial, The World War I Memorial and the World War II-Korea-Vietnam Memorial. Sadly, Bedford has lost sons in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. On the Historical Society property between the old church and the Town Hall Museum note the WWII M5A tank.