The exterior appearance of the mansion dramatically changed during the second owner, Thomas F. Potter’s residency, in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The grand, Federal style porch seen today likely did not exist when the first owner, William Jenkins, ordered the construction of the mansion in 1828. Evidence found beneath the porch suggests the entrance had a small stoop at the entrance to the front door.
Some of the classic Federal features that Potter likely installed include the elliptical fan light over the paneled front door, flat lintels over windows, often with bull’s eye corners, sidelights flanking the front door, and a three-sided set of stairs leading to the deck of the porch with symmetrical paired Doric columns projecting out from the façade of the house. James Buchanan delivered a speech to his fellow Lancastrians from this porch in early June 1856, when he learned that the National Democratic Convention had nominated him as their presidential nominee. That year, Buchanan ran his campaign from Wheatland to become the 15th President of the United States.