About the Heritage Alliance

The Emmaus Heritage Alliance serves to coordinate the historic activities and events among its member organizations which include the Main Street partners, Shelter House, Knauss Homestead, 1803 House, Historical Society, Moravian Church, Emmaus Public Library and Remembrance Garden. The Alliance was originally formed in 1992 at the urging of Borough Council member Rick Zayaitz. The original name of the group was the Emmaus Historical Forum, with representatives from various historical groups in the borough meeting occasionally with Rick to discuss their common problems and objectives. The name was changed in 1997 to the Emmaus Heritage Alliance. They have since worked together to "tell the story" of Emmaus.

Shelter House

The Shelter House is located on the north face of South Mountain where three streams converge. The house is nestled in a clearing of woods made up of old hard-wood growth. Built in around 1734 by early Pennsylvania Colonial German settlers, the Shelter House is considered the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the Lehigh Valley.

In the nearby village, later to become Emmaus, Moravians from Bethlehem., PA were forming frontier outposts in the area. The shelter house whose German name is zufluchtshaus (a house of refuge or shelter), sits in a sylvan wooded spot where visitors can envision earlier times when one could hear with clarity the breeze, birds, and streams. The house was inhabited when conflicts in the area could have been with the British or the Native Americans.  All of this history and more is included in our group tours of The Shelter House.

Knauss House

For a total of 158 years the Knauss House sheltered the descendants of Sebastian Heinrich Knauss - seven generations were born within its walls. Upon the death of Mary Ellen (Adrain) Knauss in 1931, widow of Herman Knauss, the house and surrounding thirty five acres were purchased at auction by Atty. Dewey Marcks.

 Although the Marcks family installed electricity, heating and a kitchen, the house was never used by them as a permanent residence. Upon the death of Mrs. Marcks in 1972, the house remained vacant for the next 20 years.

 In 1992 the property was acquired from the Marcks estate by the Borough of Emmaus.

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1803 House

In 2003, The Friends of the 1803 House celebrated the passing of 200 years since Jacob Ehrenhardt, Jr. built this stone, Federal-style home for his wife Susanna and their four daughters. He located it just south of the Moravian Church, on a plot of land owned by his father; outside of the confines of the “congregational village” of Emmaus, but close to the heart of the settlement – the church. For us, the story of Jacob and his house begins with his father.  

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