A Small Village Called "Emaus"

Longitude: -75.496849 and Latitude: 40.536760
Emmaus is 1,828 Acres, 410' Above Sea Level and located along the base of the South Maintain.


How it all Began:

     In 1680 William Penn, a Quaker, was granted land by King Charles II of England. He hoped to make this area “Penn Woods” a haven for religious sects being persecuted in Europe. German settlers moved into this area known by the Lenni Lenape as “maguntsche,” or "feeding place of the bears". 
     Settlers, mostly German Lutheran and Reformed denominations, arrived in early 1700’s, probably coming up the South Mountain Trail where the Shelter House in Emmaus is located. The Moravians had established an industrial settlement in Bethlehem in 1741, and local settlers Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss found themselves drawn to the church. In 1742, William Penn’s sons granted Jacob Ehrenhardt and Sebastian Knauss land which they in turn donated to the Bethlehem Moravian church. A settlement was established as a closed community with strict rules governing all. They built a small log church on what would become the settlement’s cemetery God’s Acre.  In 1747 a schoolhouse opens, and in 1747 the local Moravian congregation was founded. 
in 1758 the congregation purchased 102 acres of land from the settlers and surveyed and laid out the village of Emmaus.  There was a total of 32 house lots and 17 field lots.  In 1759 the first house was erected for Andreas Giering and his wife Maria. In April of 1761, the name Emmaus was given to the settlement by Bishop Spangenberg, from a hymn he’d written recalling Christ’s appearance to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. It was written in Pennsylvania German with one “m” and a dash above the “m” or Emaus. This dash signified two “m’s”, however, the name was recorded as Emmaus. In 1830 the owns name was changed from Emmaus to Emaus and non-Moravian members were allowed to own land within the village boundaries. And it wasn't until 1938 that the name was changed back to Emmaus.
     The Moravian faith had strict adherence to the rules of the church.  One couldn’t travel without permission of the “Warden,” no meetings could be held in the dark, marriages had to be approved by the church elders, and restrictions against noise and youthful playing were strictly enforced.  The Moravians also refused to bear arms, swear oaths or to take part in political discussions.  When trouble arose between the English king and the colonies, the community was faced with a series of events which sorely tried their faith.  They were asked to swear an oath which would break their allegiance to King George III, and they were required by the Continental Congress to join the Pennsylvania Militia.  Fines, imprisonment and confiscation of property faced those who refused to participate.  The church diaries kept by the Moravian ministers make no mention of the fact 12 men from Emmaus did enlist in the Continental Army.
Note: In 1859 was the year that the East Pennsylvania Branch of the Reading Railroad arrived, and Emmaus became a borough

Attend an 1803 House Event:

      Please consider attending our fundraiser events.  In the Spring enjoy some food, wine and music; in Fall enjoy some more food, beer and music; and in winter enjoy an "Old Fashioned Christmas at the 1803 House."  For more information Go to Events

Emmaus Historical Sites:

The Moravian Church and "God's Acre"...in1742, both the church and the cemetery were built.  Emmaus Moravian Church Website. 

The Shelter House...in 1734 this house was built along the South Mountain Trail heading into the Lehigh Valley and is the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the Valley. The Shelter House Society was established in 1963 with a goal to protect and preserve the Shelter House for many years to come. Shelter House Website.

The Knauss Homestead...in 1777 this home was built North of the Moravian Church.  For a total of 158 years the homestead sheltered the descendants of Sebastian Henrich Knauss - seven generations were born within its walls. The Knauss Homestead Preservation Society was established in 1993 with their mission to protect, preserve and maintain homestead for the enrichment and enjoyment for future generations. Knauss Homestead Website.

The 1803 House...in 1803 this house was built on approximately 70 acres of land and constructed from with the large stones and wood from the property.  "The Friends of the 1803 House" was established in 1976.  Their mission was to preserve and maintain the 1803 House as a museum for the community of Emmaus. 1803 House Website.

The Moravian Church today...
was built in 1834 at Main and Keystone Streets. Moravian Church Website. 

The Emmaus Historical Society...was established in 1993 with the mission to collect, preserve and exhibit Emmaus artifact, documents, histories, photographs and genealogy for displays, research and educational programs and events. Emmaus Historical Society Website.

The Emmaus Remembrance Garden...this beautiful garden was established in 2002 and dedicated in 2004. This garden offers a simple way of honoring loved ones or special event with engraved paver bricks which are surround by beautiful flowers and shrubs creating a sense of calm in our community. Emmaus Remembrance Garden Website.