Hudson Heritage Association’s March 8 meeting will feature Betsy Squire Lee, president of Bedford Historical Society. The story of how a Cleveland suburb preserved, protected and honored its history will be the subject.

The Bedford Town Hall, built in 1874, is home to the Bedford Historical Society. Submitted photo.

Betsy Squire Lee will reveal how a single bookcase in a window grew into what is now the thriving Bedford Historical Society, a 63-year-old organization her father founded and which she now leads as president.

HHA will welcome Squire Lee to Barlow Community Center on Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The Bedford Historical Society was founded in 1955 by Dick Squire. It has grown to include three buildings of museum displays that tell the history of the original Bedford Township, which today includes Bedford, Bedford Heights, Maple Heights, Oakwood Village and Walton Hills, as well as portions of the Western Reserve.

The buildings, each listed on the National Register of Historic Places, include:

• The 1874 Town Hall, which contains exhibits, archives, genealogies and a 12,000-volume library.

• The 1832 Hezekiah Dunham House, restored to reflect three critical periods of occupancy.

• The 1892 Old Baptist Church, a late Gothic Revival with a restored sanctuary.

In addition, the society cares for a 1920s-era passenger station at Bedford’s 1882 Wheeling & Lake Erie train depot.

Like Hudson, Bedford offers a rich 200-plus-year history, a quaint town square/green with gazebo, a postcard-worthy “main street,” and historic buildings and homes. It also boasts an impressive list of notable native sons and daughters, from Archibald Willard, painter of “The Spirit of ’76,” to Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry.

“The story of the Bedford Historical Society is the perfect example of how passionate citizens can step up to preserve and protect the history of their community,” said Inga Walker, HHA’s co-president. “It’s important for us to learn from the successes of other communities and to share resources and ideas.

The 1832 Hezekiah Dunham House, restored by the Bedford Historical Society. Submitted photo.

“Without the dedication of groups like the Bedford Historical Society and Hudson Heritage Association, we would likely not have the beautiful greens, buildings, homes and streetscapes we all enjoy and cherish today.”

In addition to Squire Lee’s presentation, HHA is planning a field trip to the Bedford Historical Society on Sunday, April 8 at 3 p.m. More information will be shared at the meeting.

What: Hudson Heritage Association’s March meeting

Who: Betsy Squire Lee, president, Bedford Historical Society

Where: Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt Street, Hudson, Ohio

When: March 8, 2018, 7:30 p.m. – free and open to the public