This past week, Lancaster Histoy.org, a non-profit educational institute loosely attached to the Lancaster County Historical Society and the James Buchanan Foundation for the Preservation of Wheatland, received a tax-exempt financing plan for an $8 million loan to establish a formal campus at President and Marietta avenues in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Lancaster County) from the East Hempfield Industrial Development Authority.
Founded in 2009 and dedicated to the education / preservation of local and regional history in Lancaster County, Lancaster History.org is in the midst of a $13.5 million fundraising campaign to purchase and preserve the land that made up the formal estate of our nation’s 15th (and Pennsylvania’s only sitting) President, James Buchanan. To date, the organization controls 10 of the original 22 acres associated with the late president. We are creating what we’re calling a campus of history,” explained Tom Ryan, president of Lancaster History.org in a published interview, “[It will be a] place where folks can come experience history on three different levels — the county, the commonwealth and the country.”
(Past History Examiner writings: “Is Thad Stevens Running His Museum into Debt?”)
(Past History Examiner writings: “The Secret Life of an American [President]”)
The plans Lancaster History.org have in development for the new “campus of history” would include an $8 million building plan calling for 19,725 square feet of new construction on the property that would primarily be used to house the artifact collections of the James Buchanan Foundation which are currently stored in the Wheatland mansion’s attic and basement. The new building space would also provide space for programs, lectures, and historical research that the Lancaster County Historical Society cannot accommodate in their current building.
Although the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development must sign off on the application before East Hempfield’s approval becomes final, Lancaster History.org does not seem too worried in an atmosphere of budget cuts here in the mid-state. Already the recipients of a $100,000 Urban Enhancement Grant in 2009, the future looks bright for these historical preservation developments.
(To read more on this story from Lancaster Online, click here)
(To visit the Lancaster History.org site, click here)
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