The Shelter House – c.1734

The Shelter House got its name from the German word “zufluchtshaus,” “house to which to flee.” The house was built around 1734 by early Pennsylvania German settlers and is located on the north side of South Mountain where three streams converge. The house is nestled in a clearing of woods along a well-traveled Indian path and often served as a stopover for travelers. The house was inhabited when conflicts in the area could have been with the British or the Native Americans. After the founding of Emmaus, the house became a sort of hostel, a tavern where the wayfarer could find lodging, food and drink.

Shelter House: Community

  • There was no formal “community” in 1734; instead it was a “community” of settlers
  • Concept of settlers and homesteaders

Shelter House: Uniqueness

  • Believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited dwelling in Lehigh Valley
  • Possible first arrivals to Lehigh Valley
  • Settlers not following a group or religion, but their hopes for a better, more independent life

Shelter House: Conflicts and Cooperation

  • With Native Americans
  • No ruling government in the area