In 1680, 22 New England Puritans purchased the "Hopp Ground" from local Native Americans and established the Town of Bedford. The men planned the new settlement to include a meetinghouse, a gristmill on the Manus River and a cemetery. Today this historic site is known as the Village Green and though it is just one-third of its original size, it remains for the most part exactly as its forefathers planned it. Many other reminders of the town's long history can be seen throughout the town, including the Bedford Court House (built in 1787) and, of course, the Bedford Oak.
Each of the Town of Bedford's hamlets has its own unique attractions and local flavor. Katonah is known for being the home of Caramoor Estate, which houses the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts and hosts the annual International Music Festival. Katonah is also noted for its art museum and Victorian architecture. Another Katonah attraction is the John Jay Homestead, the retirement home of the first chief justice of the Unites States Supreme Court.
Bedford Hills provides a tranquil small-town atmosphere and a rich diversity of cultural opportunities. The Westchester Theatre Dance Academy and the Community House are both located in Bedford Hills. This hamlet is the seat of the Town of Bedford's government and is home to the Town House, built in 1927.
Bedford Village is the southernmost hamlet in the Town of Bedford and the site of the Town's original settlement. Bedford Village boasts many original and renovated historic buildings and a museum in the courthouse is open to the public. Several of the homes in the village were built just after the Revolutionary War, when the British burned the settlement to the ground.
The Town of Bedford's students are served by two outstanding school districts. Bedford Hills and Bedford Village are part of the Bedford Central School District, which serves approximately 4,000 students. The district is recognized as one of best in the country and the vast majority of its high school graduates attend college. The Katonah-Lewisboro School District also serves about 4,000 students and is one of New York State's union-free school districts. Over 90% of Katonah high school graduates go on to college and students consistently score in the top percentiles in the state on standardized tests.
In keeping with the old-fashioned family neighborhood atmosphere and hometown values, the Recreation and Parks Department maintains six lovely parks in the Town of Bedford. Each hamlet has its own park offering year-round activities as well as summer day camps. Indian Hill Park and Beaver Dam Sanctuary Park provide walking trails and nature areas. Picnicking areas and a baseball and softball field are available at Rosaforte Park in Bedford Hills. The Bedford Riding Lanes Association offers a unique opportunity for residents to enjoy horseback riding along more than 100 miles of trails and dirt roads in the Bedford and Pound Ridge areas. Preservation of this historic trail system helps maintain Bedford's rural character.
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