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Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is a Pennsylvania state park near Cove Gapmarker, in Peters Townshipmarker, Franklin Countymarker, Pennsylvaniamarker in the United States. The park is on Pennsylvania Route 16 along Tuscarora Mountain. Buchanan's Birthplace State Park was created from land donated to the state by Harriet Lane in honor of her uncle, the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan.


Recreation facilities are limited. There are two pavilion and a number of picnic tables. Drinking water and two restrooms are located near the picnic area. A pyramid built with native stone stands at the site of the cabin where President Buchanan was born. Buck Run runs through the park and has a population of native trout for fishing. Tuscarora Trail, a bypass trail for the Appalachian Trail, passes just to the west of the park.

Buchanan's Birthplace

President James Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 near the village of Cove Gapmarker. He was born in a log cabin on property owned by his father. The complex was known as Stony Batter, named for the family home in Northern Irelandmarker. At the time of Buchanan's birth the Cove Gap area was on the edge of the American frontier. Today it is a quite isolated area, but when President Buchanan was born it was a center of frontier commerce. Stony Batter was a complex of cabins, barns, stables, storehouses, a general store and an orchard. Pioneers travelling from the East Coast through Cove Gap stopped at Stony Batter to rest and restore their supplies. Buchanan lived at Stony Batter until he was six years old, when his father moved his business to Mercersburgmarker.

The Monument

A fawn at the park
Harriet Lane Johnston was President Buchanan's niece and since he never married she served as his First Lady. She led the effort to create a memorial to her uncle. She made several efforts to purchase his birthplace, Stony Batter, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Upon her death, in 1895, the responsibility for building the monument was transferred to a lawyer from Baltimoremarker, Lawrason Riggs and a banker from Washington, D.C.marker, E. Francis Riggs. After years of trying to purchase Stony Batter, the Riggs' were finally successful in 1907. The monument in the shape of a pyramid was built of native stone. Wyatt and Nolting, an architectural firm from Baltimore, designed the memorial. The pyramid is square and high. It is made of of American Gray Granite and 250 tons of mortar and native stones. Construction of the pyramid began in October 1907 with a work force of 20 men. They built a small railroad to haul the heavy materials from the mountainside to the construction site. The work force grew to 35 men and the monument was completed by late winter with a surrounding iron railing. The Pennsylvania General Assembly of 1911 accepted the monument from the trust of Harriet Lane Johnston and Buchanan's Birthplace State Park was formally established.

Nearby state parks

The following state parks are within of Buchanan's Birthplace State Park:


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