Imagine stepping back in time to April 23, 1791. Packhorses and wagons were pulling into a bustling trading post owned by Scotch-Irish immigrant James Buchanan. There was probably a spring chill to the air. Perhaps the sun shone brightly overhead, for here in Cove Gap this would be a special day. Amidst all the commotion, James' wife, Elizabeth was giving birth to young James Buchanan, who would become the 15th President of the United States in 1857.
James senior called this place, Stony Batter after his ancestral homeland in Northern Ireland. It wasn't by accident that Stony Batter was alive with activity, bustling with teamsters, waggoners, frontiersmen and immigrants trading goods or looking for a better life on the western frontier. Buchanan's trading post was located on the main route through Pennsylvania from Baltimore to the west. From here trade goods were transferred from wagon to packhorse and carried over Cove Mountain on an old American Indian trail. Improved in 1768 into a bridle path, to McConnellsburg and northward to the Pennsylvania Road, formally the Forbes Trail.
If you look closly along the hillside above here you can still see what are believed to be traces of the old pack trail. Pa. Route 16 follows portions of this old trade route from Waynesboro to McConnellsburg.