What used to be the sound of a school bell ringing to summon children inside to learn is now a carrying echo of coffee orders and good conversation. The one-room schoolhouse that sat empty for many years intrigued Schoolhouse 7 Cafe owners, Curt and Sarah Tappendorf, who decided to preserve the schoolhouse’s history while creating a new, local gathering space for community members. Located at the intersection of Cyntheanne Road and Southeastern Parkway, Schoolhouse 7 Cafe is widely known amongst community members for its delicious café drinks and food, as well as its history.  

With Fishers’ Sesquicentennial celebration happening this year celebrating its 150th birthday, it is important to highlight the history of Schoolhouse 7 Cafe and how it has impacted the city over the past 150 years.

class of 8th grade students in 1939

Picture taken in front of Schoolhouse 7’s drive-thru window 

The original schoolhouse was built in 1900 and was open through 1945. Through previous students Charles Whelchel and Dr. George Underwood, Curt and Sarah were able to understand more about where the students played outside, ate lunch, and learned. Dr. Underwood donated some of his old report cards and class photos that can be seen in their private event space called George’s Study.

report card

Dr. George Underwood’s report card from 1936

While it’s important to renovate and make things new, preserving history can be just as special. The floorboards of the schoolhouse were repurposed to create the face of the front bar and the back wall behind the espresso machines. The upstairs community table was built from the main level floor joists that were removed when the concrete floor was installed. It was important to the Tappendorfs, and co-owners Brit and Julie Killinger, that parts of the existing schoolhouse were on display and remodeled into something that was useful for the café.  

“The café provides a sense of gathering,” Curt said. “We wanted to make sure that we brought things back to the way it was in the old days. If you go in there, you’ll see we don’t have newspapers or TVs. It’s a place where people can come in and sit down with others.” Curt also explained how important it is to be able to host events, not only inside, but outside on the treehouse deck, or outdoor green space. 

cup on table

Schoolhouse 7 Cafe has played a role in the smart, vibrant, and entrepreneurial essence of Fishers, while preserving local history and 150 years of the city. During Fishers’ Sesquicentennial year, the coffeehouse highlights Fishers’ history and importance of education, along with its impact on the local community. 

“Our education system is a big reason why many families move to Fishers,” said Curt. “Being able to preserve one of the original schools in the area, has allowed us to highlight the memories of Schoolhouse 7’s past, while maintaining that gathering place to keep that sense of community for years to come.” 

Schoolhouse 7 Cafe is open for business during the Cyntheanne Road and Southeastern Parkway roundabout construction. Visit them using this detour map and learn more on their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.