The building was constructed in 1852 for dry goods wholesaler Mr. John Woodward, and included the city's first public hall on the third floor. The concave cornice at the roofline and above the storefront shows the influence of the Egyptian Revival style of architecture. Mr. Woodward used the first and second floors of the building for his dry goods business selling retail and wholesale textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and sundries.
The public entertainment hall located on the third floor was in operation from 1852 to 1887. Woodward Hall was home to many traveling stage shows such as minstrels, festivals, circus-style acts, dances, variety acts, lecturers, dramatic companies and all sorts of entertainment enterprises. Many political rallies and public meetings were also held in the old Woodward Hall, including a tense meeting on the eve of the Civil War which adopted resolutions urging moderation on the part of both North and South to avoid armed conflict. One of the first performances of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in Indiana was presented in Woodward Hall before a packed house in April 1854. Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ralph Waldo Emerson gave lectures at the hall too. Some notable performers included "Blind Tom," a blind slave pianist and General Tom Thumb.
During the Civil War, Woodward Hall was turned into a Civil War hospital #9. Wounded soldiers would arrive by steam boat from the Ohio River. Woodward Hall is the only remaining structure in New Albany that served as one of the 11 civil war hospitals.
By 1908 The Rowe-Fawcett Wholesale Grocer Company had purchased the building and began their wholesale grocery concern here. It remained in operation from 1908 to 1936.
Today, Seeds and Greens is located in the addition built in 1922. The Rowe-Fawcett Wholesale Grocer Company added this 5,000 sq. ft. addition to the backside of the building when delivery trucks began replacing horse drawn delivery wagons. The addition was put on so delivery trucks could pull inside to load up goods.
Wolford-Wunderlich, wholesale grocers located their business in building between 1937 and 1944, followed by another wholesale grocer, Merchants Wholesale Grocery Co. in 1947 to 1951. The Trading Post, general merchandise was active in the building for just two years from 1959 through 1960.
Then in 1961, for the first time, a totally different business was located in the building. Wrights Moving & Storage, occupied the space for their warehouse over the next 22 years.
From 1984 to 2014, the building was used as an Antique Mall, which occupied all of the 15,000 sq.
ft. Sellers Antique Mall later and added a restaurant on the second floor above the market known as Stella's. Three other owners operated an antique mall out of the building, the Bridgwaters, Frenchs and Gwinns.
On January 2014, the Freiberts bought the building, feeling it was a perfect location to for Seeds and Greens Natural Market and Deli. Aunt Artie's Antique Mall will remain as tenants in the three stories, which face Main St. The market will be located in the 1922 addition with an added storefront entrance on West First Street. This entrance has been boarded-up since 1984 when the moving vacated the structure. The community is embracing Seeds and Greens Natural Market and Deli locating in the historic downtown location.
In March 2015, Aunt Arties Aunt Mall closed it doors and the Freiberts began remodeling the front building. The building will be called New Albany Mercantile and will be home to multiple retail shops. Spaces between 300sq ft to 7,000+ sq ft are available on two floors. Possible tenants interested in renting space can use the "contact us form" or call 812-944-3800.
"Mr. John K. Woodward saw the need for a public hall... a place for amusement. 'One of the greatest wants of our city has been spacious and commodious hall for concerts. This want will soon be supplied. Mr. Woodward's splendid hall at the corner of Main and lower First Street will be completed in a short time, when New Albany will be able to boast of one of the best halls in the West. With a good room for concerts and other amusements and proper officers to enforce good order and decorum (a thing almost impossible in the building now used for such purposes) we shall expect to see a lively time in the concert
line this winter.'"
-New Albany Daily Ledger, Nov. 1852
"I feel that the use of the building has come full circle, being used once again as a grocery, this is where Seeds and Greens is meant to be."
-Owner, Stacey Freibert