FISHERS, Ind. – An old schoolhouse in Fishers that closed in 1942 is reopening. A couple is converting it into a coffee shop and study lounge.
Curt Tappendorf and his family are getting help from one of the school's former students who graduated from 8th grade nearly 80 years ago.
Schoolhouse7 opened in 1900. It sits on the corner of Cyntheanne Road and Southeastern Parkway, right across from Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate.
There are few students of Schoolhouse7 who are still alive to share its history. George Underwood is one of them.
Underwood is 92-years-strong. He attended the one room schoolhouse from first grade to eighth grade. There was only one teacher in charge at a time.
"The most we had in school was 34 or 36 and sometimes only had 28 in eight grades," he said.
There were only four other students in his graduating class. Underwood remembers his time at Schoolhouse7 pretty well. He has a binder full of pictures, his diploma and report cards.
During that time, there was no electricity at the schoolhouse. In the winter, teachers had to get to school early to fire up the stoves.
"When it was dark, it was dark. We could not have lamps. Reason was because of a fire," Underwood said.
Underwood got in touch with Tappendorf through the principal of the middle school across the street. Tappendorf has a few kids at Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate.
Tappendorf bought the property in 2017. It turned into a residence after the schoolhouse closed in 1942.
Underwood said he was impressed the family wanted to bring Schoolhouse7's history back.
"I am just really happy to be a part of it," said Underwood.
The café will be two stories. On the first floor, there will be a coffee bar with a seating area by a fireplace. The second floor will have a community table and extra seating. The family plans to use the original floor planks.
The space will offer students a place to hang out and study.
"We thought there is a lot more opportunity here than it just being a coffee house," said Tappendorf. "We thought it should be a schoolhouse."
Underwood has visiting the schoolhouse a few times to help the Tappendorf's with the project. There is a lot of work to do but they hope to have a soft opening on July 7.
"Hope that the kids can recall how it used to be," said Underwood.