Family Finds Perfect New Use for Brookville Landmark

After serving as a nursing home for more than 50 years, Brookville’s Fries House is undergoing rehabilitation for use as a preschool and daycare facility.

Fries House, Brookville

A Learning Opportunity

A year ago, Brookville’s historic Fries House needed a hero. Vacant for the first time in 140 years, the property’s prospects looked uncertain. Today, the home is poised to resume its role as a place of community service, thanks to the creative vision of a local family.

Kehlie and Derik Orchell have lived in the Brookville area most of their lives. Both are teachers with degrees in elementary education and a commitment to serving the county’s youngest residents. They opened Rainbow Preschool and Daycare south of downtown Brookville a little over six years ago, but in recent years realized they needed more space to accommodate growing families in the community. When they spotted the Fries House, they saw the perfect opportunity to expand their facility and revive one of the city’s most important landmarks.

Located on a bluff overlooking Main Street, the house dates to 1877, built by prominent Brookville businessman Joseph Fries. In the 1950s, Elsie Dreyer of Sunman bought the grand home for use as a care facility, constructing a large one-story addition. The Orchells plan to use the first floor of the home and the addition as classrooms, bathrooms, and two kitchens for their school. The second floor will be used as an apartment. The couple hopes to open the new facility later this fall.

Fries House, Brookville

Kehlie and Derik Orchell ‘s children, Ryder and Lennox, are helping their parents rehab the Fries House in Brookville.

“We absolutely love what we do and the families that we helped over the past six years,” says Kehlie. “We’re looking forward to welcoming even more children and parents into our special new space.”

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