Friday, October 30, 2009

Buchanan's Wheatland

I've actually been on the road, hence the lack of posting. Last weekend, we were in Pennsylvania and we toured James Buchanan's Wheatland in Lancaster County (this is part of the Lancaster County Historical Society). This is really a very interesting tour. I have always had a fairly negative view of Buchanan (hey, I'll admit it), but this really is a very positive one (go figure right?), but helps to balance out what we know about his presidency. They talk a fair bit about his decision to defend the Union posts in the South - like Ft. Sumter.

Buchanan, although a bachelor, had a large extended family who he was always willing to take in, like his niece, Harriet Lane. The house is nicely kept up and shows really well. They have a fair selection of both Buchanan's and Harriet's personal belongings and dishes (including china used in the White House).

The ground are also lovely, although, it was pouring while we were there, so we didn't get to explore much. The most interesting part outside that I saw was the outhouse - seriously! The original owner (who Buchanan bought it from) had a lot of kids and so created a children's and adult's portion and the children's portion has a variety of seat levels for smaller and larger kids! Quite fun!

Things to remember if taking a tour:
  • They are all guided tours and start on the hour, so make sure to pay attention to time.
  • They do have seasonal hours, so make sure to check that as well.
  • This is pretty easy to find once you get to Lancaster, but you can call for directions if unsure.
  • The house is on the same grounds with the historical society, so you'll have to pay attention to see where to start (you start in the gift store where you watch a video).

If you are in Pennsylvania, this is worth the time to tour.

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