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Wheatland Mansion tour: ‘We don’t know if President Buchanan used the tub’

This 1840s zinc tub is a memorable part of the tour of Wheatland, James Buchanan’s Lancaster County home. It’s not known if the president ever used the tub. (See additional photo below). These photos will appear in an upcoming edition of Spaces magazine. Background posts: Columbia’s clock museum set presidential timepiece exhibit opening, President Buchanan’s fall reflected his presidency; other chief exec visits and York’s Jeremiah Black, former U.S. attorney general, among Democrats resorting to racism.
James Buchanan’s Wheatland home falls several bricks short of modern presidential libraries.
The predecessor to Abraham Lincoln in the White House is often rated in the lower tier of U.S. presidents. And the nation mostly fell apart under his watch. And he served before presidential libraries were bestowed to even undistiguished presidents.
Despite these shortcomings, a visit to Wheatland is an interesting and informative way to spend a Saturday morning… .

This is the view of James Buchanan’s bedroom, complete with foot bath.
I visited there on a recent holiday, and dedicated volunteers from owner and operator Wheatland Foundation were spending their day off gamely telling about Buchanan and his home.
The tour guide was thorough and the inside of Wheatland carries you back to the mid-1800s when Buchanan held court there.
And York countians should feel a kinship with Buchanan. He has all kinds of links to the county, serving as its congressman at one point and frequently passing through here on his way to and from the White House.
The following story from an upcoming issue of Spaces magazine, published by the York Daily Record/Sunday News, adds more information on Wheatland:

Some environmentally conscious homeowners strive to make their
properties Earth-friendly by installing the latest technology.
Many spring for geothermal heating systems while others harness the power of the sun through roof-mounted solar panels.
However, recycling the planet’s natural resources is not new.
Take Wheatland, for example.
The former Lancaster County estate of President James Buchanan has on its second floor an 1840s zinc tub, framed in wood complete with a drainboard and shower head.
During poor weather, rain would cascade down a rooftop pipe into a large, metal cistern in the attic of the 10,900-square-foot house.
A pipe connected to the cistern funneled the rainwater down to the showerhead and tub.
“We don’t know if President Buchanan used the tub,” said Patrick Clarke, executive director of the James Buchanan Foundation. “We have to analyze the hardware to determine the history of the tub.”
This fall, the home’s 19th-century plumbing, as well as the rest of Buchanan’s more than 4-acre estate, will be part of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s 2008 Architectural History Tour “Mansions on Marietta” on Oct. 19, said Amy Gaston, the trust’s administrative assistant.
The tour will feature six historic homes, including Wheatland, and will strive to help residents appreciate their community and its history, she said.
“At the same time, they will learn a little bit about the architecture of the homes,” Gaston said.
Residents who join the tour will check in at the Conestoga House and Gardens at 1608 Marietta Ave. in Lancaster and then proceed to visit the historic house, she said.
The trust will use the tour proceeds to further its mission to preserve and protect historic buildings in Lancaster County.
“We try to give a broad perspective,” Gaston said, “so that people leave with the appreciation of the style and architecture of the different homes.”

Wheatland is another of this region’s unsung treasures. A sampling of others in that category that are in posts on this blog:
The JCC’s Holocaust sculpture
The Little Courthouse
Aldersgate United Methodist Church’s Copper Beach carving.
War Mothers Memorial
— Work War II USO at former York County Academy gymnasium
— York’s Salem Square soldiers monument
York’s Cookes House
York’s rowhouses
— Wrightsville’s monuments
— The Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge
Memorial trees along highways Route 30 & Susquehanna Trail
The Inches
— Camp Stewartstown
— The Wrightsville Bridge supports
— New York Wire Co.’s factory whistle
— Mary Ann Furnace
— York’s Hartman Building
— Hanover’s Iron Mike and The Picket
York’s Eberts Lane
Helen Reeves Thackston Memorial Park
— WW II defense worker housing
— Shiloh’s former town square
Loucks one-room school
Red Lion’s Fairmount Park— Carlisle Avenue Market House
York’s Fairmount Neighborhood — Ma & Pa Railroad, Muddy Creek Forks draw fans
Delta’s slate clock and Mainline Museum Spring Grove’s top-of-class museum
York’s Reservoir Hill
Forgotten York Valley Inn
Wallace-Cross Mill
Jefferson town square
James Buchanan’s home “Wheatland”
Columbia’s Clock and Watch Museum.

Click here for panoramic view of Buchanan’s Wheatland Office