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Article Archive >> Spring Tourism

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park

This 18.5-acre park is nestled in the gap of Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County and is dedicated in honor of the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan. This narrow, peaceful hollow is the site of James Buchanan's birthplace. A stone pyramid monument stands on the site of the original cabin where he was born.
The park and surrounding the forested mountains offer an abundance of beauty throughout the year.
Cove Gap, Buchanan's birthplace, is a far cry from the modern world that many Americans take for granted. Though quiet and solitude now reign, the spirit of this place would have been much different on April 23, 1791, the day of James Buchanan's birth.
Then, it was the western edge of civilization--a place alive with the sights and sounds of a center of commerce. Though the surrounding Allegheny Mountains provided a formidable barrier to those seeking a way west, Cove Gap's cut through two of three parallel mountains made a westward journey a little easier. During those days, anyone seeking a route west passed through this gap.
In 1789, James Buchanan's father bought the land (first called Tom's Trading Place), complete with cabins, barns, stables, storehouses, store and orchard. He renamed it Stony Batter after the Buchanan home in northern Ireland and continued to operate the business until moving it to nearby Mercersburg when young James reached the age of six. Though young when he left Stony Batter, Buchanan's first home left a lasting impression. Years later in 1865, the owner of the site invited the former president to visit his birthplace. Buchanan wrote in reply, "It is a rugged but romantic spot, and the mountain and mountain stream under the scenery captivating. I have warm attachments for it..."
The Tuscarora Trail passes to the west of the park and serves as a bypass to the Appalachian Trail and follows the crest of the Tuscarora Mountain.
This beautiful park is located between McConnellsburg and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, near the village of Cove Gap along PA Route 16.

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