Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:15PM - 177 Views

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The streets of Waverly‚??s historic district are lined with beautiful homes that were built to last. None has stood the test of time better than the landmark home which faces the Waverly Community House. The Greek Revival-style home was built between 1826 and 1828 by the young physician, Dr. Andrew Phelps Bedford. It was the fourth home built in Waverly, but the oldest still standing.

Gerry and Val Calpin purchased the home in 2004 after it had stood vacant for six years. The couple, who share an appreciation for historic homes, have spent the past eight years painstakingly restoring it.

‚??It‚??s an ongoing mission, we take one project at a time,‚?Ě Val explained. ‚??Our goal is to get back to the original whenever possible.‚?Ě

Some notable facts about the house:

* It was home to the (then-named) Old Abington Post Office. Dr. Bedford served as the second Postmaster from 1832 until 1853. It appears that, what is presently the garage was the location of the Post Office. There is evidenceof a stove for heat and it contains a spiral staircase into a vaulted attic.

* There is a trap door under the kitchen floor which leads to a crawl space. Dr. Bedford‚??s close association with passionate abolitionists led to the belief this may have been used to hide runaway slaves.

* The support beams, visible throughout the basement, are original and still covered in bark. They most likely came from the site of the home, for it was forest before it was cleared for the purpose of building the house.

* The home was built with post and beam construction. Instead of using nails, notches were cut in logs and logs were laid into the notches.

Dr. Bedford was born in 1800. His parents were early settlers in the Wyoming Valley and survivors of the massacre there during the Revolutionary War. He attended Yale University and answered the call to set up a practice in Waverly. The only doctor in town had died unexpectedly and the growing population created a great demand for his services. He purchased 10 acres of woodlands on both sides of Abington Road (then called Main Street) from John Miller and had the property cleared and a home built.

Here was a man dedicated to progress in many ways. Some areas he ventured into outside of medicine included:

* Opening a general store in 1849 with his close friend, Leonard Batchelor.

* Opening a drug store in 1853, which would become his son, Sterling‚??s, business.

* Opening the Waverly Manufacturing Company in 1867, a foundry which made agricultural tools. The foundry existed in the alley between Clinton Street and Church Street, in a barn owned by the doctor. The store was located on Main Street, facing his house.

* Opening a hotel with friends based on temperance (abstinence from alcohol) which stood on the corner of the Comm Square where there now sits a bench. It was called The Waverly House.

* Traveling to Harrisburg many times to advocate for the railroad to come through Waverly. He proposed that rail travel would overtake the stage coach eventually and wanted his town to benefit from it. The steepness of Waverly‚??s hills, however, led the train to go through Dalton and Glenburn.

* Joining with other prominent residents to purchase 12 acres and then donate it to the railroad for the Glenburn train station site.

* Being one of Waverly‚??s first elected officers in 1880.

Dr. Bedford medical practice treated patients over a 200 square mile area of heavily wooded terrain.

However, he could only be summoned by patients in need via messengers on horseback. He traveled through all kinds of weather on horseback, loaded up with saddlebags full of medicines and tools, as wagons could not reach most of the scattered settlements.

Not much about his descendents was recorded, but a trip to the Hickory Grove Cemetery provides many clues. Bedford shares a headstone with two women, one Hannah, designated as his wife, who died at the age of 39, the same year in which a child, Andrew Jr., was born. Other children of his first marriage include William, Theodore and Sterling.

The second woman noted on the same headstone is Mary Porter Bedford. She was 16 years younger than the doctor. A son, John, born in 1854, presumably to Mary, only lived to the age of two.

Also laid to rest in Hickory Grove are the doctor‚??s aged parents, who must have followed their successful son to Waverly. Born in 1762 and 1773, Jacob and Deborah lived to 87 and 96, respectively. The doctor lived to age 89, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues in the beautiful house in the town that he helped to build.

Credit to ‚??Echoes in the Hills‚?? by Anne Davison Lewis and ‚??This Is Waverly‚?? by Mildred Mumford.

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