Meet Alan Hawman, Architect and Historian
He combines his profession and his passion to give back to the our hometown in a variety of ways.
Name: Alan Hawman
Where do you live? Emmaus
Job Description: Architect
Tell us about one of the most interesting architectural jobs you've undertaken.
An addition to a one-room schoolhouse.
"The original schoolhouse had been built in 1889, and the owners had always dreamed of transforming it into their home. The challenge was to preserve the historic schoolhouse itself, and to create an addition that not only provided the necessary living space, but was sympathetic to the design and scale of the schoolhouse. It was very tricky, but a lot of fun."
In addition to your daily job, what other activities are you involved in around Emmaus?
Hawman is on the board of directors of the Friends of the 1803 House. He is one of the group's representatives with the Emmaus Heritage Alliance. In addition to that, Hawman is on a committee to help with the reprinting of the book, "They Came to Emmaus" by Preston Barba.
Hawman also gives walking tours in the downtown area of Emmaus to teach a little bit about the history of Emmaus and its buildings.
What do you love most about Emmaus?
"Probably the atmosphere. It’s a very comfortable place to live, friendly, lots of good places to walk, and with residents who are for the most part committed to making it an even better place to live."
What do you wish Emmaus residents knew about the Emmaus Historical Society?
Hawman wants people to know that there is not only a great collection of historical Emmaus memorabilia, but also a great bunch of dedicated volunteers.
You are very knowledgeable about the history of Emmaus. What is one of the most interesting pieces of Emmaus history in your opinion?
"I think the most interesting part of the history is the way the original village was founded -- by a small group of settlers hoping to carve out this little corner of the New World for themselves and their families, and winning support from the Moravian Church in Bethlehem to make their dream a reality."
Which is your favorite of the historic Emmaus buildings? Why?
"I have three favorites -- two of them are Victorian, one a Queen Anne home (now apartments) at 163 Main St., and the other an Italianate home (now a dentist’s office) at 242 Main St. -- because they’re both such good examples of their styles, and because they’re both so well maintained by their owners.
"My third favorite is the Emmaus Moravian Church, in part because it’s such a well-designed example of Greek Revival, but also due to its interesting history, and the variety of church buildings that went before it."
If you recommend any improvements to Emmaus, what changes would you like to see made?
"The downtown has improved steadily over the past 15 years or so, and hopefully this trend will continue. A better variety of retail shops, another good restaurant, maybe another good coffee shop -- all would help.
"But one significant step for us to take might be to create an historic district in the downtown. Preservation of what history we have is important in itself; but historic preservation also increases economic vitality, which attracts more business, which in turn attracts more visitors."