Some time ago, Hoxsie came to the possibly supported conclusion (well, been wrong before) that the oldest remaining business in Albany is The Woodward Company, which currently sells fasteners way out in Colonie , but which began its lengthy life as a saddle and harness supplier. Originally founded by Nathaniel Wright in 1819, it later became Woodward & Hill.
In 1916, The Albany Evening Journal proclaimed that Walter Woodward would be building a new brick warehouse for his business on the southwest corner of Broadway and Hamilton (and local historians everywhere wish all newspaper articles would be so specific about location).
“Plans have been prepared by the Fuller & Robinson Co., Inc., architects, for a four story brick warehouse to be built by Walter M. Woodward, president of The Woodward Co., at the southwest corner of Broadway and Hamilton street. The building will have a frontage of 41 feet six inches on Broadway, a depth of 123 feet nine inches on Hamilton street, and a width of 58 [?] feet in the rear. Work will be started on construction about Oct. 1 and the building will be ready for occupancy next spring. The site is a vacant lot. On it stood a large brick building which was burned three or four years ago.”
Hamilton doesn’t really go through to Broadway anymore, but the building still stands, nearly one hundred years old, as Four Ecomm Square, from a late ’90s branding attempt that almost worked. It had most recently been on the chopping block for the earlier convention center concept that was intended to level what was left of these venerable blocks. Now that the convention center has been downscaled and pushed up the hill, it’s not clear what will become of it.
In the same story was the announcement that Fuller & Robinson would also be planning a large barn, wagon shed, toolhouse and blacksmith shop for the Albany Rural Cemetery, to replace one that was destroyed by lightning. It would include stalls for 23 horses, which seems like a lot of horses for a cemetery.