Dear Members and Friends, April 15, 2019
As we witness trees in bud and flowering bulbs in bloom welcoming all to the glory of Spring, we also take time to reflect back on a Winter that was not really too harsh and filled with a beauty of its own. We certainly can't forget the first snowfall on Nov. 15th that surprised us all with more than 8 inches of snow. While it posed problems for many, perhaps all of us caught by surprise, it painted the landscape with a beauty that has no comparison. It reminded all of us either willingly or unwillingly to slow down and take a time out from our hectic lifestyle.
Spring is upon us! The sunny days and warming temperatures remind us of the Fall chores left undone. Lawn work and Spring chores that many of us dread, yes, Spring cleaning. On one hand our chores are made easier by modern technology. However, as we toil about that it might be wise to reflect upon Spring cleaning in the tiny village of Emmaus in the late 18th century. Some may consider it an unpleasant subject but then again it was a most unpleasant chore and may serve to make the task that awaits us a bit more pleasant. The harshness of Winter confined families to their homes dominated by the hearth. By today's standards living conditions were absolutely appalling with the existence of filth, debris and the stench of uncleanliness. The emergence of spring allowed these families to break free from the confines of their home hauling out furnishings into the sunlight for scrubbing. Floors that had straw layered for warmth needed extra care as the straw was ground into a fine dust that covered everything. Floors and every movable household item required cleaning and the entire family spent several days on this once a year chore to brighten the household. Much more can be said about this daunting task but suffice it to say this time for us is less of a task than our ancestors endured.
We would be remiss to overlook thanking all our wonderful members that help to support the maintenance and preservation efforts of the Knauss Homestead. We continue to need your support as well as your help to make the “Homestead” a living history museum that honors one of the founding families of our community. Your input and continuing commitment to the preservation of our history is important to us and always welcome. Along with these lines is our annual meeting that is open to one and all will be held May 1st at 7p.m. in the Lecture Room of the Emmaus Public Library. We will be accepting nominations for officers and board members followed by a vote. We look forward to your attendance.
Thank you, Dalton and Elaine Knauss and the Knauss Foundation in Arizona, for their very generous donation of $5,000.00. This will help bring us closer to the goal of repainting the exterior of the “Homestead House”, a job long overdue. A donation of $10,000.00 was made by them a couple of years ago and we really cannot thank them enough. There appears to be a bit of good news mixed in with some bad. The exterior paint finish has degraded considerably since quotes were made for the repainting. This is the bad news. The good news is the exterior paint finish has degraded considerably. Paint preparation that was previously more tedious under the rules of historic preservation become a bit more relaxed and may save us some money.
We also thank Damon Knauss, a 10th generation descendant of Sebastian for his donation of an 18th century Dower chest and a large framed oil painting of the Knauss Coat of Arms.
In addition, our thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Knauss Thomas for her donation of a “Wedding Quilt” dating back to the mid 1800's.
To those of you who have donated money along with your membership or just in part we thank you so very much and assure you that the money will be well spent on useful and important projects.
The gutters, downspouts, fascia and slate roof on the barn have all been repaired by Yeakel and Sons Roofing. This cost was born by the Borough of Emmaus. The resulting roof repair has abated a series of serious roof leaks that have caused considerable damage to the barn foundation as well as a portion of the floor. Those are issues we hope to address in the very near future. Floor boards have been located from an 1800's barn that has recently been dismantled. Engineers without Borders are working with a group of engineering students from Lehigh University to access the condition of the barn that was rebuilt on the original foundation after being destroyed by a fire in the mid-1800.s
Similar problems existed with the gutters and downspouts on the house that were improperly installed years ago. The overflowing gutters caused some structural foundation damage on the north side of the house. We plan to address this in early Summer.
Inside preservation work continues and will be starting up again very soon. Cleanup of debris along the banks of the brook have begun and we are looking forward to working in part with the Wildlands Conservancy to restore the banks with wildflower plantings that will serve to attract birds, bees and butterflies and beautify the area.
Lastly, we are always in need of volunteers to serve on committees and help with the many tasks at hand such as upcoming events.
Speaking of upcoming events. July 30th was officially proclaimed as “Emmaus Founders Day” by the Borough of Emmaus last year. This will be an annual event that coincides with the anniversary of the founding of the Emmaus Moravian Church. Plans are moving forward to make this a significant event every year. A Founders Day Dinner is scheduled for July 27th at the Emmaus Moravian Church. Plans are being formulated for a “Founders Day Parade “and celebration next year.
The Knauss Homestead with the Emmaus Main Street Program is planning an “Emmaus Oktoberfest Celebration” September 28th. This is to celebrate the German Heritage of Emmaus and will be held on the grounds of the “Homestead”. Catering of German foods will be provided by Licensed to Grill and beverages provided by Funk Brewery, Yergey Brewery and Colony Meadery.
The Knauss Homestead will have an open house in conjunction with the Veterans Brick Laying at the Remembrance Garden Sunday May 26th. We will also have an open house on Sunday June 2nd, Sunday July 7th, and Sunday August 4th from 12-3pm. We invite you to visit us.
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Please visit our web site for information on current and upcoming events.