The Knauss Homestead November Newsletter

The Knauss Homestead November Newsletter

2022 Has Been An Incredible Year at the Knauss Homestead!

Some things just get better with age!

John Schmoyer | The Knauss Homestead Preservation Society | Emmaus, PA

John Schmoyer
The Knauss Homestead Preservation Society

Barn Image Gallery

More Images from 2022

At the top of the list this year is the Knauss Homestead at 245 years old this month. It has taken a long time and a lot of effort to finally bring the house and barn into a place where we can truly say that it has gotten better with age.

If you haven’t seen the Homestead this past year, it is time to pay us a visit to see all of the changes that have taken place! We’ve constructed two new bluestone porches at the front and back of the house, making them not only better looking, but much safer for all our guests.

The interior of the house continues to be, and perhaps always will be, improved upon. We are in the process of converting one of the second-floor rooms into a continuing education center with ever-changing displays focused on early colonial living.

Recently, we were given some wonderful old photographs of several branches of the Knauss family tree and are in the process of restoring them and preparing them for display in the house. We’re building toward a truly magnificent resource for tracing your roots and getting to know our long-gone ancestors in a way we’ve never been able to before.

Other displays will chronicle the history of Early Colonial Seating, the history of Christmas in America, Early Colonial lighting and so much more.

The barn is also undergoing a huge restoration project and a real enhancement of the property as we endeavor to create what we hope will soon be one of the premier community event centers in the Lehigh Valley. From intimate weddings to art classes, wellness retreats, and even genealogy workshops, we’ll have a lot to offer our community and beyond.

A gorgeous (and quite large) Pennsylvania bluestone terrace has been completed in the barnyard, with plans to continue it into the first level of our bank barn. All of this work is being done at a huge discount and even some by donation from Cerminaro Stone Supply located in Bucks County.

The barn you see today dates to the mid 1800’s, with the original barn having been destroyed by fire. The upper floors of the barn are being restored by Precise Buildings, a premier Amish company that specializes in barn restoration and rebuilding.

Asbestos shingles, having long been a part of the exterior, have been removed, exposing the original wood siding. The barn is also being sealed from the outside elements with new furring strips to close gaps, and wiring and lighting upgraded and improved.

The original windows have been repaired and/or replaced with Amish-made replicas to stay with the authentic design. One significant change you’ll notice immediately is the replacement of the smaller bank doors with the original oversized doors.

All of these improvements are being made financially possible by grants from the Fischer Family Trust, led by Knauss descendant Maggie Fischer and her family, and all of the incredible volunteers leading the charge to increase the visibility of the homestead and all that it has to offer.

Springtime will see the construction a permanent bathroom facility as well as a food prep area located in a period-designed addition to the east side of the barn.  Despite all of these modern safety and convenience improvements, the barn will retain its rustic look and feel while making it safe and enjoyable for everyone.

If you missed either of two festivals held at the Homestead this year, please allow us to bring you up to date. In August we held our first annual Peach Festival, and while Mother Nature kept local peaches in scarce supply, the festival was a tremendous success with lots of amazing vendors and delicious food.

October blessed us with a perfect Saturday for our first and annual Harvest Festival, with turnout exceeded our expectations. We welcomed more than 40 vendors featuring a diverse selection of art, crafts, pop-up shops, and incredible food from several local businesses. We even had Franklin Hill Winery and Rising River Brewing on hand to provide a taste of their latest creations just in time for fall.

What’s next? Well if that isn’t enough, of course we have more in store. Next month we begin celebrating our annual Old Fashioned Christmas open house. Friday night , December 2nd, we will have music provided by the Williams Duo, and of course the house will be decorated in typical early Moravian style.

Saturday will continue with more house tours and good cheer. Tickets for the event are “name your price” and count as a donation to the Homestead, which can be anything from $1.00. We hope you’ll decide to contribute to our future by donating and attending!

You can click here for more information.

We want to take this time to thank you for your continued support and contributions to making the Knauss Homestead a place of community, creativity, and education for all who want to deepen their knowledge of early life in our area and connect with their friends and neighbors.

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

John Schmoyer
Treasurer and Resident Historian
The Knauss Homestead Preservation Society


Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

October 22, 2022
12:00 NOON – 5:00 PM

Join us as we welcome fall with some of our community’s best artists and crafters while enjoying craft beer, wine, and lots of area food trucks, bakeries, and artisan kitchens!

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The Knauss Homestead Barn Restoration Project

The Knauss Homestead Barn Restoration Project

Restoration work is underway at the Knauss Homestead barn!

If you haven’t been out to the Knauss Homestead lately, you may not know that we are undertaking a MASSIVE renovation project!

Our beautiful Pennsylvania Bank Barn is getting a full restoration, from the foundation walls to the incredible new bluestone terrace going out back. Our vision is for the barn to serve as a community gathering place, perfect for family events, corporate functions, or anything you can think of that will contribute to the future of Emmaus.

The History of the Knauss Homestead Barn

While details are a bit sketchy, we know that the barn that sits at the Heinrich Knauss House is not the original barn. We believe that the original barn was destroyed by fire sometime in the 1850s, and was rebuilt shortly after that on the original foundation. You can clearly see at least one remaining support beam in the cellar level of the barn is charred and kept from the original structure. Based on what we do know, the barn continued to function as a place for the Knauss men to continue their wheelwright practice and tend to their livestock. There is a rumor that when the original barn burned, the Knauss family lost a beloved horse in the blaze – and that later someone working in the upper levels of the barn suffered a fatal fall. We are continuing to investigate both of these clues.


The first step in the process was to remove all of the old, worn asbestos shingles from the outside of the barn. Luckily, the barn boards underneath were in remarkable condition!

The second step in Phase I was to completely clean out the inside of the barn, removing any objects that weren’t original to the space, and clearing it so we could better assess what we’d need to do to transform it into a safe, beautiful community area. That’s been completed with the help of the Borough of Emmaus, and we’re well on our way to planning some wonderful improvements – without sacrificing the authenticity or rustic feel of the barn.


With some of the major first steps behind us, we wanted to create a more usable, beautiful outdoor space to take advantage of what makes the Knauss Homestead such a beautiful place. We decided to consult with our friends at Cerminaro Stone in Quakertown, who are skilled masons, to see what we could add to create an outdoor terrace, but keeping within the look and feel of our barn. What they came up with was not only beautiful, but makes our barn much safer and secure for events and community gatherings. Now, our guests have a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors for anything from a small painting class to a larger wedding reception. The possibilities are endless!

Following the completion of the terrace, we’ll be working with Precise Buildings to restore the barn’s foundation walls, ground floor, doors, windows, and roof. This will further expand the safe, usable space and make the barn weather-tight and secure. Even though the barn is in beautiful shape, it’s never been used for larger gatherings, so we have to take every step in making sure the old girl can support our vision!


With cold weather on the horizon, we’ll be moving back to the design phase of our project to refine exactly how the barn will look, and function. Initial plans are to add accessible bathrooms, a small commercial kitchen, and upgrading our electrical service and connectivity to ensure that those wanting to hold events here are able to do so safely and without compromise.

As we progress, we’ll share our designs with you all. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!

Seeing is believing: A VIEW OF OUR PROGRESS

Cracking the Shell

In the winter of 2022, the Knauss Homestead Preservation Society decided that it was time to make use of our beautiful 1850s Pennsylvania Bank Barn. But the first step was to remove the shell of worn asbestos shingles and see just what was waiting for us underneath. We were pleasantly surprised!

Pretty on the Inside

It was even better than we’d hoped – the underlying barn boards were in beautiful condition and would need minimal work. We’re preparing to stain and seal the boards to protect their integrity, but will keep their authentic rustic look, perfect for a wedding (hint, hint) or any event, really.

The Big Cleanout

Inside, it was time to clean out anything that didn’t belong to the original barn – and with the Borough of Emmaus on board, we were able to do just that, revealing a space that was just calling out for life again! There’s lots of dust, and even a few cool artifacts, but we’ll have her looking beautiful in no time!

Views to Die For

One of the most special parts of the barn, is the way it’s situated amongst the towering chestnut trees, alongside a beautiful brook, and overlooking acres of meadows and wildflowers. Our next step was to design and build a terrace so that everyone could enjoy the serene space. You’d never know you’re in downtown Emmaus!

Digging In

Our vision didn’t spend very long on the drawing board, we were too excited to dig in and make our vision come to life. With the help of Cerminaro Stone, we were able to break ground quickly and in just a few short weeks we’ll have an incredible Pennsylvania bluestone terrace just perfect for alone time or a wonderful reception!

Taking Shape

Our vision didn’t spend very long on the drawing board, we were too excited to dig in and make our vision come to life. With the help of Cerminaro Stone, we were able to break ground quickly and in just a few short weeks we’ll have an incredible Pennsylvania bluestone terrace just perfect for alone time or a wonderful reception!

Rapid Progress

Our vision didn’t spend very long on the drawing board, we were too excited to dig in and make our vision come to life. With the help of Cerminaro Stone, we were able to break ground quickly and in just a few short weeks we’ll have an incredible Pennsylvania bluestone terrace just perfect for alone time or a wonderful reception!

While We Wait

As our friends at Cerminaro are finishing up the terrace, we’re getting to work painting our beautiful new Amish-crafted barn windows! Precise Buildings will be arriving in just 2 weeks time to start the process of stabilizing our foundation, replacing some doors, and preparing us for the next phase in our transformation!

Thank You For Your Support:

The Fischer Family Foundation

Cerminaro Stone Supply

Precise Buildings

You Can Help Restore the Barn!

Every contribution we receive is completely tax-deductible, and goes directly to funding our restoration and community programs.

follow our progress