Did you know that Emmaus is home to three of the most historic homes in the Lehigh Valley? Together, the Shelter House, the Knauss Homestead and the 1803 House form a complete picture of the community’s century-long journey from frontier outpost to thriving population center.
We urge you to visit all three historic houses and discover the history of one of the Lehigh Valley’s oldest communities.
The Shelter House: Emmaus’ Pioneer Beginnings
Erected in 1734 as a “place to which to flee” from native attacks, the Shelter House became a sort of hostel for pioneers south of Bethlehem. For more than a century, settlers used it for much-needed food, drink and respite as they staked their claim in a harsh land. Today, the Shelter House stands as the oldest continuously occupied dwelling in the Lehigh Valley.
Location: 601 S. 4th Street, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
The Knauss Homestead: A Community Center
Built in 1777 by Heinrich Knauss for his father Sebastian, the Knauss Homstead hosted seven generations of the family over 158 years. Sebastian Knauss and Jacob Ehrenhardt, both German settlers, are today best remembered for having given the Moravian church a large tract of land to create the “congregational village” that became Emmaus.
Location: 152 E. Main Street, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
The 1803 House: The New United States
Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Ehrenhardt, Jr., constructed this Federal style home for his wife Susanna and their four daughters, Barbara, Anna Marie, Anna Eleonora and Suzanna. Compared to the Shelter House, the “modern” structure (for the time) clearly illustrates how far the thriving community came in less than 100 years. Today, the 1803 House is a regular site for archaeological digs, providing a vital link to the past.