Incorporated in 1729, Bedford was first settled in 1640 as part of a land grant awarded to Governor John Winthrop and Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley. Its initial community of fifty households survived on
farming and requisite industries.
The Concord and Shawsheen Rivers flow through Bedford. The area along the Concord River, named by early settlers as “Great River Meadow“ is today a 12-mile stretch of freshwater wetlands preserved as the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
On April 19, 1775, the Bedford Militia and Minutemen met for breakfast at the Kidder-Fitch Homestead (Tavern), the oldest building in town, before they marched to Concord. The Bedford Flag, the oldest known surviving intact battle flag in the United States, was carried by Bedford’s Minutemen on that day.
Today the Depot Park complex at the Bedford terminus of the Minuteman Bikeway provides amenities and information to local rail-trail users and serves as the terminus of the Minuteman Bikeway.