|The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
|17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
History of Bedford Corners
Portville, New York, on State Route 305 (formerly known as Dodge Creek Road) where it intersects
Deer Creek Road. The Deer Creek flows through Bedford Corners, crossing under Route 305. Deer
meets the Allegheny River.
Portville was originally part of Lot 6, Town 1, Range 3 of the Holland Land Company's Survey. In
1856, Geils' Map of Cattaraugus County showed several structures at the corners, including a saw mill
and grist mill as well as the residences of William Livingston and Israel P. Roberts. None of these older
structures remain today. The house originally owned by William Livingston was located on or near the
northeast corner but there is no physical evidence that it ever existed and remains an undeveloped field.
Jacob Bedford became the owner of the corners when he acquired land from Henry Dusenbury in 1856
and 1858 and land from William Livingston in 1860. Bedford built his home at Bedford Corners for his
family on the northwest corner soon after the acquisition in 1856. As early as 1845, the area's
education needs were served by Joint District Number 7 for the Towns of Little Genesee and Portville
in a small school situated a short distance further north on Route 305 on the border of Cattaraugus and
In 1864, Jacob Bedford deeded land on the southeast corner to the Joint School District Number 7 for a
new school house and it came to be called The Bedford Corners School House. The southwest corner
was deeded to Jason Hopkins in 1886 for the purpose of erecting a cheese factory. The Cheese
Factory continued to operate until the early 1920s. In 1927, the property was conveyed to Portville
Grange No. 842.
Today, these three structures still remain in good condition at Bedford Corners. The original Jacob
Bedford home has been owned by Col. Charles O. Eshelman from 1981 until his passing in January
2010. Col. Eshelman also acquired the other buildings, the Bedford Corners School House in 1965 and
the Portville Grange in 1971. In 2001, Col. Eshelman deeded them to The Portville Historical and
Preservation Society in the hope that these properties will be preserved and developed into a community
resource for educational and heritage tourism purposes.
On May 20, 2003, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation designated
the property as the Bedford Corners Historic District and listed it on the State Register of Historic
Places. A ceremony was held on August 28, 2004, commemorating the event and dedicating a
cornerstone on the Bedford Corners School House. The Society has since begun restoration of the
School House in order to open the facility to the public.
Portville, New York