Shafer Construction is one of the area’s oldest family of builders. Our roots date back to 1829 when my ancestors built a one-room schoolhouse outside of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The original deed, written on lambskin from 1829, hangs in our dining room. It transferred the Stroud family (the founders of Stroudsburg) property to Philip Shafer. Today it is known as Shafer’s Schoolhouse. The busy intersection on Route 209 displays our family name.
During the Civil War
My Great-Great-Great-Grandfather, Amos Shafer, built this log cabin. Later his son, Reuben, built this farmhouse during the turn of the century.
After serving in World War I
my Great-Grandfather, Frank Shafer, began to work with his father-in-Law, John George, a builder in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Frank bought land from the Moravian Church and built many homes located on the 1000 block of Center Street. He also worked on the Hill-to-Hill Bridge in the 1920s. My grandfather, dad, and I all grew up on Center Street in a house that my great-grandfather built.
My Father still lives in the house that our uncle designed and built in 1926. It was built on land from the old Bethlehem Fairgrounds. The horse racetrack would have been in our front yard.
My Construction Career
Began as soon as I could walk. Growing up, I spent many hours helping my father and grandfather remodel their own homes. In 1979, the first episode of This Old House aired, and I was hooked. I worked after school and on weekends for a family friend, Gene Miller, of Gene Miller Construction. After I graduated from high school, I became a job supervisor for a homebuilder in the early ‘90s. Because I watched so many episodes of This Old House, I soon grew tired of building new homes. Most new homes are boring cookie-cutters that people build cheaply. I always loved old homes because they have a story and a history. I still feel sad when I see an old dilapidated houses. So I started my own remodeling business, Shafer Construction LLC, in 1993, just three years after graduating from high school.
My wife, Michelle, and I live two blocks from the house where I lived as a little boy. Our house was built in 1895, and we restored it in 2003. In 2015, it was featured on the Historic Bethlehem House Tour.