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James Buchanan Cabin

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c. 1790

The travels of this log cabin, the putative birthplace of President James Buchanan, are nearly as complicated as that of Marshall College (FR10, LA24) and the seminary (LA25), but its significance frames a new architectural purpose—the establishment of political identity, in this case, a man of the people—and on its present site links its school host to American nationalism. The cabin was first relocated from Stoney Batter, a Buchanan family property three miles from Mercersburg, to the town's S. Fayette Street in 1825. It then was moved to the county seat, Chambersburg, at the height of the nation's sesquicentennial commemoration, before being removed here in the heart of the athletic campus. In its present state after multiple rebuildings it is hard to be certain what (if anything) is original, but its chief role as icon of Pennsylvania's only president is obvious.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "James Buchanan Cabin", [Mercersburg, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 386-386.

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