History of The Kula Center

Set in the Mansion Row Historic District of New Albany Indiana, The Kula Center is nestled in a park like atmosphere with century old trees and lovingly maintained grounds.


Starting OUT

The building which contains the Kula Center was constructed as an addition to the “Upper Main Street School”. The original school building was constructed in the 1840’s, and was utilized as a hospital during the Civil War.

The original school appears in this Sanborn insurance map that dates from 1886. The Sanborn company published many thousands of maps of towns in the 19th century primarily for the insurance industry. Details about structures, streets, and utilities were all documented. Sanborn would often return to a town every five to ten years to update their maps. These collections of maps are an amazing way to see how towns grew and evolved over time. The image shown here was taken from this collection: https://libraries.indiana.edu/union-list-sanborn-maps#NewAlbany.

The Holy Trinity Church is depicted in the lot immediately to the west of the school building. The church burned down in December 1975, however, it’s legacy has been preserved in a beautiful park known as Holy Trinity Heritage Court.

a new addition

An addition to the Upper Main Street school was constructed in approximately 1905. Built in the same Beaux Arts architectural style as the original school, it was added on to the north side of the school closer to Market Street.

The image to the right was captured from a middle-school diploma from 1918. The Kula Center structure the far right & rear portion of the structure.

The school was a public school and alternatively known as the “Upper Main Street School” or the “Upper High Street School”.

Main Street School fire - 1 - BC.jpg

The main school structure suffered from a severe fire in approximately 1919 and was badly damaged. The bulk of the original building was demolished, but the 1905 addition was saved.

The building remained a school and was subsequently used as the New Albany City School Corporation’s Administrative center until the mid-1980’s. It sat vacant for several years before being purchased by Mr. Jim Hartfield. He renovated and modernized the building for use by his insurance business until 2015.


Acquired in 2017 with the goal of bringing a concept of holistic health and wellness to downtown New Albany, Rob & Carrie Klaus embarked on the creation of the Kula Center.

A six month renovation project exposed century old maple plank floors, and opened up large sun-lit spaces that serve to help inspire a feeling of calm and peacefulness.

Currently there are six independently owned businesses that help make The Kula Center the destination for mindful healing and wellness in the Southern Indiana & Louisville area.