According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2), all land, though parts of the Little Lehigh Creek, a tributary of the Lehigh River, flow just outside the Emmaus border with Salisbury Township. Emmaus borders South Mountain, a large mountain range. The town's elevation is 436 feet above sea level. Emmaus is located at approximately 40°32′13″N 75°29′45″W.
As of the census of 2013, there were 11,313 people, 4,985 households, and 3,155 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,918.8 people per square mile (1,511.4/km²). There were 5,186 housing units at an average density of 1,796.4 per square mile (692.8/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 95.89% White, 0.70% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.81% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.51% of the population.
There were 4,985 households, out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the borough, the population was spread out, with 21.2% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there are 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $55,139, whereas the estimated meadian household for the state of Pennsylvania is $52,007, and the median income for a family was $54,120. Males had a median income of $38,659 versus $25,331 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,245. About 2.2% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Emmaus was settled in the 1740s and dates its founding to 1759. For approximately 100 years, until the mid-19th century, it was a closed community of the Moravian Church. The original land on which the town now lies was donated by Sebastian Heinrich Knauss and Jacob Ehrenhardt for use by the Moravian church. The founders and original residents of the town were members of the Lutheran and Reformed faiths, who joined the Moravian church when their own denominations were unable to provide ministers. Emmaus was one of the four leading Moravian communities in the northeast United States at the time of its founding; Bethlehem, PA, Lititz, PA and Nazareth, PA were the three others.
The borough was named for the biblical village of Emmaus (now within modern Israel), where, according to the New Testament, Jesus was seen by his disciples Luke and Cleopas following his crucifixion and resurrection.
From its founding in 1759 until 1830, the settlement's name was spelled Emmaus. From 1830 until 1938, however, the community used the Pennsylvania Dutch spelling of the name, Emaus, to reflect local language and the significant presence of Pennsylvania Dutch. In German into the early twentieth century, the name had been spelled with a line above the m, which indicated a doubling of the letter, which had also been the usage in English into the sixteenth century. Since this tradition had died out in English, the line was often omitted in spellings of the name, which became confusing to the now more prevalent English speakers. In 1938, after petitions circulated by the local Rotary Club, the borough formally changed the name's spelling to Emmaus, reflecting the spelling in the Gospel of Luke in the English New Testament.
Iron ore was discovered nearby in the 19th century and served as a source of industrial growth for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1859, the East Pennsylvania Railroad (later part of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad) brought trains to Emmaus. That same year, the town was incorporated as a borough. In 1869, the town's first blast furnace opened. The largest iron company was Donaldson Iron Company, which made cast iron pipes and other products until the company closed in 1943. During the 19th century, Emmaus was also a center of silk and cigar manufacturing.
In 1940, public census statistics showed that 6,731 people lived in Emmaus. The population of the borough has since nearly doubled to 11,313, as of the 2000 census. Housing construction has reached the borough line in all directions, so significant continued population growth in the borough is unlikely. Outside the borough line, however, the local population continues to grow, particularly in neighboring Lower Macungie Township.
Emmaus is home to several residences and other properties that were constructed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and have been labeled historic sites by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under historical preservation Commonwealth laws, the sites are protected from commercial and other development expansion in the borough.
Until the 1980s, fire protection operated through three fire companies. In 1980, the Borough completed the construction of the Central Fire Station on 6th street from which all personnel and equipment are currently dispatched. The staff is composed of paid on-call volunteers who respond, on average, 375-400 calls per year. Calls include fire protection, rescue/extrication, and HAZMAT response, and are dispatched via Lehigh County's 911 Communications Center. It's vehicles include two 1988 Central States 1250 GPM Pumpers, One 110' Simon LTI 1989 Aerial, Central States 2002 Heavy Rescue Unit, 1989 Chevrolet Fire Police Vehicle, 1985 Chevrolet and a 1983 Ford Special response units, 1969 Ford bucket utility truck, 2001 GMC Yukon (Fire Chief's vehicle), and a 2011 HME 109' aerial ladder truck.
During the late 1800s the Borough of Emmaus provided protection for the community by appointing "High Constables." The Emmaus Police Department was established in 1909 when Wilson Kratzer was appointed as the first Police Chief. Since then, the Emmaus Police Department has grown to be a Pennsylvania Accredited Law Enforcment Agency.
Emmaus Ambulance Corps provides ambulance coverage for Emmaus Borough, the eastern portion of Upper Milford Township, and a portion of Western Salisbury Township in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. The Corps also provides mutual aid response to surrounding areas including: Macungie Borough, Lower Macungie Township, Upper Saucon Township, and the City of Allentown. As of April 1, 2004, the Corps began Advanced Life Support service, allowing the Corps to provide a higher level of patient care via state certified paramedics with advanced cardiac care and trauma care procedures. The number of emergency responses in 2004 was 1301. The 2005 call volume was 1607, and the 2006 call volume was 1604. The Emmaus Ambulance service currently consists 3 ALS equipped ambulances and 1 wheelchair/ambulette transport van.
Emmaus is the global headquarters of Rodale, Inc., one of the world's largest publishers of health-related books and magazines, including Men's Health, Prevention, Runner's World and Women's Health magazines. Buckeye Pipe Line, a United States petroleum distributor, also is headquartered locally, between Emmaus and Macungie.
The largest major shopping mall in the Emmaus area is South Mall, located on Lehigh Street on Emmaus' border with Salisbury Township and Allentown. South Mall is one of four major shopping malls in Allentown and its immediate suburbs.
Emmaus is also home of Shangy's, one of the nation's largest beer distributors, featuring over 4,000 domestic and imported beer brands. Shangy's attracts thousands of beer enthusiasts from around the nation each year.
Yocco's Hot Dogs, the Lehigh Valley-based fast food establishment known for their regionally-famous hot dogs and cheesesteaks, maintains its corporate headquarters in Emmaus. One of its six Lehigh Valley restaurants is also located just west of Emmaus, on Chestnut Street near Buckeye Road in Upper Milford Township. Opened in the 1980s, the Emmaus Yocco's is known as Yocco's South. Traub's Doggies, formerly Traubs Market, also is based in Emmaus.
The Emmaus Arts Commission hosts art and film events in Emmaus, including "Art in the Garden," "Emmaus Art Walk," the "Student Horror Film Festival," and others. Each October, Emmaus also hosts an annual Halloween parade, one of the largest in eastern Pennsylvania, combined with a 5K Race, held just before the parade's start and is a major fundraiser for the Parade Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Emmaus is served educationally by the East Penn School District, a public school district that accommodates kindergarten through 12th grade.
The district has one high school, Emmaus High School (for grades nine through 12), two middle schools, Eyer Middle School and Lower Macungie Middle School (for grades six through eight), and six elementary schools (for kindergarten through fifth grade), Alburtis Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Macungie Elementary School, Shoemaker Elementary School, and Wescosville Elementary School. A seventh elementary school, Seven Generations Charter School, opened in 2009. A brick-and-mortar charter school, Seven Generations teaches approximately 300 students in the 2011-2012 academic year. The school district opened an eighth elementary school, Willow Lane Elementary School, in September 2010.
Emmaus is governed under a council/mayor system, with the Borough Council retaining the vast majority of governmental authority. After the 2011 municipal election, the borough government includes:
Borough councilLee Gilbert - President
Borough ManagerShane Pepe
On July 5, 2005, the Emmaus Borough Council voted in a 3-2 vote to authorize its Water Committee to work with the borough's consultant to draft an agreement of sale for its water system. Citizens had been especially concerned that if the borough chose to follow the consultant's advice to "monetize the system," that the system would be sold to a multinational corporation, as was an increasing trend throughout the region. Many Emmaus residents organized themselves under the group EFLOW ("Emmaus for Locally Owned Water"), and through a combination of letter-writing, petitioning and public comment at council meetings, in early September 2005 the council voted to take water privatization off the table of options. This controversy garnered regional and national attention, with anti-privatization non-profits such as Public Citizen noting the debate and outcome.
Emmaus is accessible by two Lehigh County highways, Cedar Crest Boulevard, located on the borough's west-side, and Lehigh Street, which is located on the borough's east-side and connects Emmaus with Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Both highways have junctions with I-78, which spans from Lebanon County in the west to New York City in the east.Charles Bierbauer, former CNN correspondent
Howard J. Buss, composer and music publisher
Keith Dorney, former professional football player, Detroit Lions
Aaron Gray, former professional basketball player, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings
Todd Howard, game director, Fallout 3, Oblivion, Skyrim
Michael Johns, health care executive and former White House speechwriter
Nicole Reinhart, two-time Pan American Games gold-medal winner, track cycling
Donald Richards, former Salomon Brothers investment banker
Marty Nothstein, 2000 Olympic Games gold medal winner, track cycling
Cindy Werley, 1996 Olympian, U.S. field hockey team
Kevin White, professional football player, Chicago Bears