Bedford Oak Turns 500 Years Old
The Bedford Oak is considered one of Bedford’s landmarks due to its long existence and natural beauty. This white oak tree, or quercus alba, symbolizes the establishment of Bedford over 400 plus years ago.
On a hot summer day a few years ago, I drove through town taking pictures of landmarks. I continued my journey on Route 22 and came across this beautiful tree that stood so sturdy. Standing on Hook Road, I pulled my car over and walked over to the tree. Growing up in Bedford, I always knew that the white oak tree existed, but I never took the time to learn about it. The white oak tree is approximately over 500 years old, with a width of more than 30 feet. Furthermore, the width of its branches from side to side is 120 feet. That afternoon I spent a while just admiring the majestic tree, while taking pictures. Each photograph came out flawless; the best part of photographing is when the subject barely moves and this is why the Bedford Oak was perfect. That day when I returned home, I researched some information about the tree because it amazed me that it is still standing for over 400 years. I learned that in 1942, Harold Whitman exploited the land on which the tree stands, in memory of his wife Georgia Squires Whitman. Following in 1977, a few acres surrounding the tree were sold, and this concerned residents of Bedford. Shortly, local citizens from the Historical Society raised money to buy the acres specifically to save the tree. Today the monument remains apart of many lives of Bedford residents and continues to stand tall for years to come.
The Town of Bedford was founded by 22 men from Stamford, Connecticut on December 23, 1680. These owners, who were New England Puritans, set out to plan the new settlement. The areas surrounding the Village Green, such as the graveyard and the small streets still remain the same. In 1697, Bedford was part of Connecticut, until England’s King William ordered that Bedford be part of New York. Other than the Bedford Oak, the Court House is another historic landmark located outside of the Village Green. Built in 1787, this monument is considered the oldest government building in Westchester County. Bedford has gone through so much throughout the years and this old white oak has seen it all.
Bedford Oak Location: Corner of Hook Road & Cantitoe Street, Bedford New York, 10506