Bedford Park, IL, is a quaint village occupying just over six miles of Cook County. The residential area is relatively small with a population of approximately 600 people, while industrial structures sprawl in both the east and a small amount of the west. Before the early 1900s, this area was a flat prairie but everything changed in 1906 and the rest, as they say, is now history.
How Did Bedford Park, IL Get Its Start?
The Corn Products Refining Company was the first to enter this area, breaking ground in 1906 to build a wet milling plant. Corn Products had a profound effect on the village, which was named after company president E.T. Bedford. Focus soon turned to building homes for the foremen of the factory and residential housing began to appear by 1919. Local government was established in 1924 with the formation of the Bedford Park Improvement Club.
Volunteer police and fire service and water service through the well system of Corn Products brought the village into modern times. Interestingly, the fire department continued to use a two-wheel horse cart until 1951. A one-room schoolhouse opened in 1925 and the Walker School opened in 1934 on its current site. In 1940, the village was incorporated and the first mayor, Henry C. Wahl, was elected.
Districts of Bedford Park, IL
Formed in 1939, the Park District served residents of Bedford Park and residents of the Bridgeview Gardens subdivision in nearby Bridgeview. The district now includes playgrounds, baseball fields, a youth pool, bike and jogging paths, and the Swanson Center with fitness facilities and youth programs. The Library District was formed in 1962 and the first library opened a year later in the former pump house. A new library was built in 1976 on land donated by Corn Products.
This village has been home to major companies including 3M, Cracker Jack, CSX, and FedEx and the Bedford Park Clearing Industrial Association has played a major role in these and other commercial and industrial ventures. The Bedford Park Midway Hotel Complex developed in the 1980s now features eight hotels.
Today, both businesses and residents have a multitude of services at their disposal. In recent years, the residential area of the village has been enhanced. This village is characterized by a strong focus on the past while looking toward the future. It is an excellent example of how industry and private citizens can live harmoniously and help an area flourish.