Bedford in the 1910 Census: Population Jumps to 1,231 Residents

March 9, 2015


Bedford's Post Office at 47-53 Great Road in 1910 - Courtesy image
Bedford’s Post Office at 47-53 Great Road in 1910 – Courtesy image

By Brian Oulighan
Reprinted from The Preservationist, the Bedford Historical Society’s newsletter

The population of Bedford had increased slightly from 1,208 in 1900 to 1,231 in 1910.  New occupations appeared that we had not seen before. There were now 2 telephone operators in town, Quincy Cole was a Plumber, and his son Lyman was an Electrician.  The Stove Dealers and Tin Plate workers of years before adapted with the current times.

Edwin Rand was building Highview Camps off Davis Road and ran the Oakland Boat and Livery business for people who wanted to relax and spend time on the weekends near the beautiful Concord River.  Trolleys left Bedford Center and brought people to the Davis Road Camps and to Mr. Clark’s dance hall pavilion across the road.

In 1970 Louise K. Brown wrote; “In the simple days of the early century, before the wide highways piped the young away from home, and before the million-dollar industries of radio and television diverted their natural tendencies, fun was found in places near our homes and in customs now long forgotten.”

Those were great years in Bedford, and relatively quiet times.

  • Harriet and Estelle Turner were Singers for Private Parties, and George Hensley ran a Catering business.
  • Charles Jenks and his two sisters ran the farm at the Old Fitch Tavern and owned all the land that the High School and other municipal buildings sit on now.
  • Shady Hill Nursery was very popular and became New England Nursery in 1912.  John Kirkegaard was the Manager.  Frederick Parker on Old Billerica Road had many people living at his properties to help with the day-to-day farm operations. There were 11 men living in a boarding house there and working at the “Stock Farm”, including Andrew and Jacob Bierenbroodspot who had just arrived from Denmark in 1910.
  • Arthur Parker owned the Stock Farm and bred his valuable Trotting horses there.
  • Harrison and Irving Hodgdon lived on Webber Ave. and had 6 Boarders to help with their Livery business near the train station.
  • Charles and Bridget O’Dowd lived on Crescent Ave. and had 9 children plus an 8-year old boarder whose parents were unknown.
  • Charles C. Farrington opened his Print Shop on The Great Road with his wife Katherine.
  • Fred B. Bartlett managed the Bedford House with his wife Ada and son Claude.
  • George Skelton’s grocery store was next door, and in the same building was Mudge Dry Goods store.
  • Harriet Mudge was also still the Postmaster up until 1912; her sister Rebecca and Alice Fitch were Postal Clerks.  The first “Letter carrier” that we know of was Frederick Davis.
  • Ross Whiton and Edward Hamblen were the local Physicians.
  • Immanuel Pfeiffer was a Veterinarian and Albert was the Dentist on Great Road at the corner of Brooksbie Rd.  Louis Pfeiffer had a Wholesale Wool business on Loomis St. and was a prominent Republican politician.
  • Henry Lyon’s Grocery store and Cosmo Albani’s Fruit store were in the Fletcher Block; the right half of the Fletcher Block had not been built yet.
  • The Wah Wong Laundry was in the Fletcher Block in the 1899 Directory, but I’m not sure when they moved out.

From 1900 to 1910, Bedford had the usual Irish and Canadian people arriving, but less than in previous decades.  New immigrants included 14 Danish people, along with 12 from Poland, 9 from Lithuania and 6 from Sweden.  All of them found good employment in Bedford.  There were only 4 people at the Town Poor Farm.

During the decade, Bedford was busy getting electricity installed throughout town. It was proposed at the 1910 town meeting to install electric lighting in the Union School House but the matter was “laid on the table”.  It was approved at the next town meeting in 1911.   Bedford was also still  “macadamizing”, or paving, our roads and extending the water mains.  Similar to today, 100 years later, the biggest town expenses were schools, road improvements and snow removal; the 1911 estimate for expenses of schools was $4,450, moving snow $4,000, roads and bridges $4,500, and street lights $1,500.

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Alethea Yates
March 9, 2015 6:33 pm

An excellent article! Kudos, Brian!

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