President James Buchanan's Wheatland

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1120 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA, USA

President James Buchanan's Wheatland Lancaster Reviews

vances vances
541 reviews
A civil space before the war Jun 24, 2017
James Buchanan seems to be in a spirited contest with Warren G. Harding for worst US President ever. I do not see much sense in entering that debate, but I will attest there is value touring Wheatland, Buchanan’s Presidential Home. Perhaps the bar had been lowered by Buchanan’s reputation, but I was impressed from the moment we entered. You begin by entering a well done exhibit hall, erected by LancasterHistory.org, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the county’s history. Lancaster possesses a rich past and many displays here are not connected to Buchanan, but the President has his fair share. There is also a small theater presenting a short film on the President’s life.

It is single admission for the Exhibit Hall and Wheatland, with tours of the mansion beginning every hour. You are free to roam the Exhibit Hall before or after your tour. There is no charge to ramble about the lovely grounds surrounding the mansion --- the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum. A wonderful natural refuge sheltered within city limits, this is a pleasing stand of over one hundred mature trees.

So on to the mansion for our guided tour. A nice attribute is that photography is permitted (no flash, please) within the Federal-style brick building. Better yet was our fabulous guide: humorous, knowledgeable and gracious. Awaiting us on the front stoop, we were welcomed inside and charmed from the first moment. It seemed the perfect amount of information was always offered, presented in an accessible format, and he fielded all questions without hesitation. There was nary a mention of any Buchanan weaknesses or shortcomings, though I did not catch many virtues being trumpeted either. Content focused mainly on architecture and domestic life at the estate. Political matters were not touched at all, and domestic discussions centered upon the many nieces and nephews Buchanan involved in his life, as James is the one and only bachelor President for the United States.

The bottom line is that Wheatland is a lovely estate. Not so ostentatious as to revolt anyone with the impression Buchanan led a privileged existence – he was a self-made man for the most part. The tour was entertaining and educational, if side-stepping matters of the White House on the eve of the Civil War. Wheatland is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Places, but has no connection with the National Park Service.
Our charming guide awaits to begin…
All the rooms are furnished with p…
A vintage Federal style home
Plenty of bedrooms to house the nu…
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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WalterC WalterC
372 reviews
Nice attraction about one of the worst Presidents in US history Jul 04, 2016
President James Buchanan’s Wheatland is the estate of the only US President to have come from Pennsylvania. This place consists of various parts, some of which, will cost extra to see. As I have written more about James Buchanan himself in the blog, this review will be more about visiting the place.

Getting to it can be tricky, as it is located in a residential neighborhood. And no signs that really point the way, so you will have to get directions ahead of time to get it. Then you will have to enter The Campus of History building, where you have to pay admission, which is also where you have the option to see the short film on Buchanan, and the Exhibit Galleries.

Wheatland mansion – this is the main reason to visit, as this was the home of James Buchanan, as well as his niece Harriet Lane, and nephew James Buchanan Henry (more known as Buck Henry). And where Buchanan died. This can only be seen on a guided tour, as there is a very knowledgeable guide, showing the different rooms. Some of them include the different bedrooms, as well as the dining rooms, sitting room and library. And most of the furniture is original as well. Some of the items included the desk used in the White House, and the doll that was made into Harriet Lane’s likeness. The rooms and furniture are very impressive to tour around. And have to say, the tour guide that I had, did a remarkable job, telling the histories of Buchanan, Lane and Buck Henry, making them a lot more interesting than the history books do. This should not be missed at all!

Exhibit Galleries – located in the Campus of History building, this is a small gallery with a bunch of old artifacts from the last 3 centuries in the Lancaster County area. A bunch of old furniture, as well as an old campaign poster for James Buchanan when he ran for President in 1856. While the items were nice to look at, it does have less to do with Buchanan himself, and more to do with the general history of the area. Worth a look, but only if time permits, as I did find it to be a bit overpriced, as it can be seen relatively quickly.

Also, there is a short film, which can be seen either before or after the tour, that gets into the life of James Buchanan. Mainly about his time as President, and tries very hard to see the good in it, which is next to impossible to do. And I think it does make him more interesting, at least for me, enough to want to know more and possibly read a book about him. It is worth a watch.

James Buchanan may be considered to be one of the worst Presidents of all-time, but his Wheatland estate is certainly not. This attraction is definitely worth visiting, for any visitor to the Lancaster area. And worth the detour, as it is located out of the way from the Amish attractions.
Campus of History building
Wheatland mansion
chinaware in small dining room
small dining room
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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WalterC says:
Tough part is that tour guides don't take kindly to people who "fall behind".
Posted on: Jan 25, 2017
odiseya says:
I like to take photos of some places without people in it. It is not easy task at all. Sometimes people ask me is some places deserted but it is just right moment.
Posted on: Jan 25, 2017

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