Old Bedford Village Threatened?

April 29, 2009 - 4 Comments

by Jim Barnes

Here is a report I just got from Stacy Roth regarding a possible threat to one of our favorite reenacting venues: Old Bedford Village. It sounds like some overzealous local official saw an opportunity to make a quick buck, even if it runs the Village into the ground. Guess the geniuses in the tax office never read the story about killing the goose that laid the golden egg. You can find the original article below on Philly.com:

Pa. county puts living history museum on tax rolls

OBV obviously is an asset to a small town like Bedford. According to the article, “Last year, about 25,000 visitors toured Old Bedford Village in Bedford County…”

Also, “Museum executive director Roger Kirwin estimates visitors spend about $2 million annually in the county. He says if he has to pay the $18,000 in local taxes he will not be able to balance the budget. He fears the recession will also keep people away. He says he will appeal the decision to the county commissioners.

Bedford’s chief assessor Melissa Stultz says the museum is in an area that was exempt from some taxes for 10 years and that time has expired.”

Makes you wonder just how long the tax office has been licking its chops for a chance to rake money out of the Village. Hopefully, Roger can get support from the business community in Bedford. They have a lot to lose here.

Without OBV, Bedford is just another reststop on the turnpike. If it closes, I would never have a reason to go there again and I imagine that is true for a lot of people. Stay tuned for further developments.

Comments (4)


April 29th, 2009 at 8:14 pm    


Thanks for the info on this. Typical small town mindedness. Do away with the attractions by making them financially strapped with local taxes and laws. I would not be surprised to find that someone else wants the Village to go under in taxes so they can buy it up for pennies on the dollar to make yet another strip mall.

Keep up the good work of informing the reenacting community. You are appreciated.



April 29th, 2009 at 11:48 pm    

Hi Jim,
Sorry to hear about that. Roger should check and see if Old Bedford Village is on the Historical Register. Maybe there is a tax loop hole there???

I don’t know if this helps Mifflin, but glad to see it remaining open for now. Wayne (one of the fort’s caretakers who kind of reminds me of ‘Filch’ at Hogwarts)says that Miflin is staying afloat but only on a shoestring. I hope this weekend’s past event helped.

I agree with you that without OBV, I would have little reason to stop there. It will fall by the wayside as many a place did along Rt. 30 after the construction of the Turnpike, or those places along the famed Rt. 66.

Too bad. I hope it works out for Roger.


May 5th, 2009 at 7:27 am    

Several of us in the Federal Generals Corps have started writing PA government officials including the governor about OBV’s plight figuring every little bit helps. I agree with Abigail. Someone has their eye on that property. I hope things work out for Roger. The village is a wonderful place. Bedford will just dry up without an attraction and if they do not help save OBV they deserve what they get.

Jim Barnes

May 5th, 2009 at 6:33 pm    

That’s good to hear, Nick. Can you get a list of addresses that I could publish and maybe we can help get a groundswell of support going?

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