Saturday, August 13, 2011

James Buchanan

James Buchanen 15th President of the United States (1857-1861)

Buchanan sites that I have visited:

Buchanan Birthplace State Park Cove Gap, PA

Buchanan birth cabin Mercersburg, PA

Buchanan related homes Mercersburg, PA
Home Wheatland Lancaster, PA

 Presidential Retreat at Soilder's Home, Washington DC

  Gravesite at Woodward Hill Cemetery Lancaster, 

 A self explanatory state park

 Getting closer

A little Buchanan history

This monument marks the spot where James Buchanan was born in 1791, inside Buchanan Birthplace State Park

I visited Buchanan Birthplace State Park in 1993, when I was 12. I was on a family vacation and we were traveling from Niagara Falls to Gettysburg. We just happened upon the signs for Buchanan's birthplace and even then I was really into reading about the Presidents, so we made an unexpected stop. Since no pictures from that trip seem to exist, I knew that I would need to return someday. I finally made it back in July 2016 on my way home from a week long east coast trip.

Not to far from Buchanan Birthplace State Park is the small town of Mercersburg, PA. Mercersberg Academy is a private school for high school age kids. On the grounds of Mercersberg Academy sits the cabin in which James Buchanan was born. It had been moved there from the site of Buchanan Birthplace State Park.

It was raining  when we stopped by

 Elsewhere in Mercersburg sits some more sites connected to Buchanan. This marker marks a home that he lived in from age 5 - 16

Buchanan's boyhood home

 Across the street from Buchanan's boyhood home is the birthplace of Harriet Lane. Harriet Lane was Buchanan's niece and White House hostess (First Lady). Since Buchanan was a life long bachelor, his niece covered the White House hostess duties usually reserved for the Presidents wife

Harriet Lane's birthplace

Standing at Buchanan's boyhood home with Lane's birthplace in the background. It was raining pretty good at this point

Down the street from the Buchanan boyhood home and Lane birthplace sits this other Buchanan related site. The plaque tells the story.

The old "Old Mansion House"

Buchanan's Wheatland home in Lancaster, PA. This is the Northern side of the house that resembles a northern style house. June 2010

This is the southern side of the house, which more resembles a southern plantation house. June 2010

This picture is from my return trip to Wheatland in June 2012. This time I got to tour the house.

The central hall way at Wheatland

Stairway in Wheatland

Fireplace and Buchanen portrait

James Buchanen's bedroom

Buchanen statue in nearby Buchanen Park

Soilders Home, Washington DC. Buchanan used this as a retreat from the White House. It is now promoted as the "Lincoln Cottage" since Lincoln used the house when he was drafting the Emancipation Proclamation. If you visit you won't learn much about Buchanan

Me at Buchanan's grave in June 2010. Lancaster, PA

My return visit in June 2012

                                                      Back again in July 2016

Buchanan is often refered to as the worst President. As a sucessful lawyer he thought sure that all of the differences between the North and South could be settled by the law. He proved to be mistaken.

He was also the only bachelor President, and also perhaps the greatest uncle in American History since he paid for 20 some of his nieces and nephews to go to college. He also personally raised one niece and one nephew after they were orphaned. Some have speculated that he was the first gay President. So much so that the gravestone above is a replacement, because in the early 1990's the original stone was vandalized with antigay rederick. There is no concrete evidence confirming that he was gay. But nothing proving that he wasn't either. He died at his Wheatland home in 1868.

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