Hamilton County- Fall Creek Township

As of 2022, I count three remaining schoolhouses in Fall Creek Township.

District 1: Kinnamon’s
District 6: Brooks
District 7: Cyntheanne

Historic Overview

Fall Creek Township’s first school was taught in a cabin on the farm of Samuel Holliday around 1827 or 1828. The first purpose-built school was never completed, although Smith Goe taught a summer session there (Haines, 1915). The township’s second school was taught by members of the Kinneman family in a cabin near the dwelling of Abram Helms (Shirts, 1901). 

Early schools such as these were basic structures, simply built and generally measuring no larger than twenty by twenty feet. Walls of notched logs slathered with mud or clay rose above simple, puncheon floors to an eight foot, peaked roof covered in shake shingles. A wide fireplace that terminated in a chimney made of mud held together by a simple framework of sticks was frequently located across the wall opposite the school’s entryway, while narrow “windows” made by cutting out a length of log five or six feet up each flanking wall provided natural illumination to the interior of the structure (Kemper, 1908).

Early schools were so simple largely due to a lack of money- Green Township has always been relatively rural, and, beyond Fairview, has never had a thriving center of economy to support a tax base. As first established, each schoolhouse was funded predominantly by subscription, a sort of tuition paid to the school’s proprietor that also covered a salary for the teacher (Helm, 1881). Generally, these revenues were insufficient to finance a township’s schools for more than two or three months at a time. Sometimes, classes were taught months in advance leaving teachers waiting for their wages. 

The era of subscription schoolhouses ended in theory in 1851, when the state of Indiana ratified a new constitution that provided for the basics of a township-based, common educational system (Natali, 2007). The School Law of 1852 expanded upon the new constitution, authorizing a schoolhouse fund and an official statewide Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as a “general and uniform system of common schools, wherein tuition shall be with out charge, and equally open to all (Indiana, 1851).” Once funds were finally available, officials began converting the existing log schools into frame ones, simultaneously improving courses of study, hiring teachers that were more qualified, and erecting new buildings when possible.

By 1866, Fall Creek Township was home to ten district schoolhouses. Though officially known by their district number, the schools were also known by colloquial names, most of which referred to the farmers who deeded their land to the township. District 1 was called Kinnamon, and District 2 was known as Bethlehem due to its proximity to the United Brethren church of the same name. District 3 was the William Helms school; District 4 was Klepfer; and District 5 was Highland, called so due to its geographical setting.  The District 6 school was called Brooks, District 8 was called Cyntheanne due to its location near the extinct community of that name, District 7 was Morgan or Lick Skillet, District 9 was called McKay, and the District 10 school was known as Goldsmith.

Once state funds were disbursed, Fall Creek Township’s log schools were probably initially replaced with frame buildings. The area saw a schoolhouse building boom under William Morgan’s fourteen-year tenure as township trustee (Death, 1933), as brick buildings for District 1, District 2, District 6, and District 7 were built in 1906, 1890, 1891, and 1900, respectively. The District 2 school was added to in 1894, making it a two-room structure (Stoops, 1982). Schoolhouses built under Morgan’s direction tended to follow a T-shaped plan that incorporated a central entryway flanked by two cloakrooms. 

Demographic changes necessitated the establishment of two more districts, 11 and 12. The District 11 school was built on the land of Elizabeth Perkins in 1895 (Morgan, 1895) and was probably known as Perkins, while the District 12 school -called Guilkey- was built to replace the District 3 structure that had evidently been abandoned at some point prior to 1896 (Cottingham & Findley, 1906). Four years later, the District 7 school was shuttered when the District 8: Cyntheanne school was renumbered (History, 2022).

In 1907, a new state law was passed that compelled township trustees to shutter any school with fewer than twelve students (Kemper). This likely spurred the consolidation of the township’s smaller schoolhouses. Despite this, Fall Creek Township never had an early graded high school. Students wishing to continue their studies beyond the eighth grade were sent to Fishers and Fortville (Haines).

Regardless of its status today, Fall Creek Township was quite remote for most of its history, as the village of Olio was its only center of population. Because of this, by 1938, Fall Creek Township was sending its high-school students to Noblesville as well as Fishers and Fortville, and only the Bethlehem, Highland, Klepfer, McKay, and Cyntheanne schools remained in existence, serving a total of 131 pupils (The Grades, 1938). Though the 1938 attendance roster doesn’t list the District 6: Brooks school as in operation, the obituary of a long-time Fall Creek Township teacher, Notra Young, advises that he taught at the District 6 schoolhouse through the winter of 1939-40 (Notra, 1940).

Specifics aside, the Brooks and Highland schools were shuttered prior to 1942, when the closure of the Klepfer and McKay schoolhouses made the Cyntheanne schoolhouse Hamilton County’s last one-room school in operation. The Klepfer school shut down due to the poor health of its long-time teacher, Bertha Weaver, and its students were transferred to the two-room structure at Bethlehem. The McKay school closed due to the construction of Geist Reservoir: Most of its families lived on land acquired by the Indianapolis Water Company in order to build the dam there, and their relocation meant that the school no longer had enough students to operate (The Klepfer, 1942).

The shuttered Brooks and Highland school buildings were deaccessioned in 1943 when they, along with a piano, heating stove, and used school bus body, were sold at auction (Notice, 1943). The Klepfer and McKay schools were auctioned off three years later, as were their coal sheds, outhouses, garages, and furnishings (Notice, 1946).

Along with its contents and outbuildings, the Cyntheanne school was auctioned in 1947 (Notice, 1947), the same year a tornado blew the building’s cupola off (History). In 1951, the two-room Bethlehem school was Fall Creek Township’s final structure to close (Old, 1956). By this point, all of the township’s students were attending classes elsewhere. In 1954, a referendum to consolidate the schools of Fall Creek, Delaware, and Clay townships was defeated when objectors in Fall Creek tacitly endorsed building a new school south of the old Bethlehem building, a project that the township had allocated $100,000 for (Fall, 1954).

Construction of a new Fall Creek Elementary School did not happen as quickly as hoped, and 1955 saw a confusing situation: Students in grades 2, 4, 5, and 6 were taught at the reopened Bethel schoolhouse. Grades 1 and 3 were sent to rented quarters in McCordsville, and students from grades 7-9 were sent to Fortville due to Vernon Township’s less-expensive tuition rates (Trustee, 1955).

The six-room Fall Creek Elementary School finally opened during the winter of 1956 with a capacity for 210-240 students (Give, 1955). It featured terrazzo flooring, ivory tile, and green walls in its interior, while the exterior of the school was red brick with a limestone name block illuminated by projecting lights at night (Students, 1965). That May, the old Bethlehem school was purchased at auction by Jay Wiseman for $4,500 with proceeds from the sale intended to be used to help construct a gymnasium for the new elementary (Wiseman, 1956).

In 1959, Indiana’s State Commission for the Reorganization of School Corporations passed new guidelines for school districts specifying that, at a minimum, each must have a resident school population of at least 1,000 students in terms of average daily attendance, as well as an adjusted assessed valuation of at least $5,000 per pupil in average daily attendance. Five years later, the schools of Fall Creek Township consolidated with those of Delaware and Wayne Townships to become the Hamilton Southeastern School Corporation.

Initially, high-school students of the new district attended classes at Fishers. A new, $2.3 million Hamilton Southeastern High School that contained 41 classrooms, an auditorium, gymnasium, swimming pool, cafetorium, and a planetarium (Progress, 1966) was completed in 1967. The fifty-nine year-old Fishers High School was torn down the same year (Historical, 1973).

In 1993, the administrators of Fall Creek Township moved into the old Brooks schoolhouse, which was renovated and enlarged. The building has been expanded several times in recent years but is still used by the township. 

In 2003, a Hamilton Southeastern freshman campus was erected at the southeastern corner of East 131st Street and Promise Road. In 2006 a wing for grades 9-12 was added to the structure and it became Fishers High School.

Today, both Fall Creek Elementary and Hamilton Southeastern High School are still in use as schools, though both have been heavily renovated and greatly expanded. The district operates a preschool, fourteen elementary schools, four intermediate schools, four junior high schools, and two high schools. Three of Fall Creek Township’s one-room schoolhouses -Districts 1, 6, and 7- still remain, while a fourth, District 12, was demolished in 2014.


Haines, J.F. (1915). History of Hamilton County, Indiana: Her People, Industries, and Institutions. book. B.F. Bowen & Company. 

Shirts, A.F. (1915). A History of the Formation, Settlement and Development of Hamilton County, Indiana. book. Self-published.

Kemper, G. W. H. (1908). Education in Delaware County. In A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana, Volume 1 (Vol. 1, p. 252). book, Lewis Publishing Company.

Helm, T. B. (1881). Mount Pleasant Township. In History of Delaware County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (pp. 268–269). book, Kingman Brothers.

Natali, B. L. (2007). The Impact of Caleb Mills on the Hoosier Education Debate: An Edition of Two Unpublished Addresses (thesis). University Graduate School, Indianapolis.

Indiana Constitution. (1851), art. 8, sec. 1.

Death of W.A. Morgan After Long Illness (1933, March 13). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 4.

Stoops, F. (1982, May 21). Many Old Hamilton County School Buildings Still Stand.

Morgan, W.A. (1895, August 16). Annual Report. The Hamilton County Democrat. p. 8.

Cottingham, C.J. & Findley, H.L. (1906). Map of Hamilton County Indiana, compiled from original surveys and personal inspection. Atlas. C.J. Cottingham.

History (2022). The Schoolhouse 7 Cafe. Web. Retrieved April 16, 2022 from https://www.schoolhouse7cafe.com/history.

History (2022). The Schoolhouse 7 Cafe. Web. Retrieved April 16, 2022 from https://www.schoolhouse7cafe.com/history. 

The Grades In Fall Creek (1938, October 10). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

Notra Young Took His Life By Own Hand (1940, October 26). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

The Klepfer School Closed In Fall Creek. (1942, September 26). The Noblesville Ledger. pp. 1-2. 

Notice of Sale (1943, August 30). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 3.

Notice of Sale (1946, August 30). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 8.

Notice Of Sale (1947, June 14). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 4.

Old Bethlehem School Goes On Auction Block (1956, May 25). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

Fall Creek, Clay Say ‘No’ To School Referendum Issue (1954, May 5). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

Trustee Makes Plans To Open Old Bethlehem (1955, August 29). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1. 

Give Progress Report On Fall Creek School (1955, October 5). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1. 

Students Describe New F.C. School Building (1956, February 22). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

Wiseman Buys Bethlehem School At $4,500 Price (1956, May 28). The Noblesville Ledger.r p. 1.

Delaware County Committee for the Reorganization of School Corporations. (1959). A Comprehensive plan for the reorganization of school corporations of Delaware County Indiana. Muncie, IN; Delaware County Committee for the Reorganization of School Corporations.

Progress Report On Construction Of New Southeastern High School (1966, October 6). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 1.

Historical Calendars on Sale (19783, October 10). The Noblesville Ledger. p. 13.