Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

University Archives

Townsend Hall

Original Townsend Hall on Niagara Square

There were two Townsend Halls in UB's history. The first was located on Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. The name was later transferred to the second Townsend Hall on the University's South Campus on Main and Bailey Streets.

The original Townsend Hall on Niagara Square (where the City Court Building stands today) in Buffalo was donated to the University's infant College of Arts and Sciences program by the Women's Educational and Industrial Union of Buffalo in 1915 provided that the University raised $100,000 towards a future endowment. On February 22, 1916, Grace Millard Knox donated $250,000 in memory of her late husband, Seymour H. Knox. This was more than enough to assure the future of the growing institution.

Townsend Hall, c1920s. Photograph by Hare Photography Studios

The conditions of the gift also required that the building be named "Townsend Hall" and that "if said premises be sold by the University of Buffalo, this name shall be perpetuated by the University." In 1922 the College of Arts and Sciences moved to Foster Hall on the University's new campus on Main Street and Townsend Hall on Niagara Square was used for the University's Millard Fillmore College.

In 1954, after the building on Niagara Square was vacated by the University, the Townsend name was transferred to the Biology Building on the Main Street Campus. Today, Townsend Hall is still owned by the University, but is presently vacant.


Namesake

Townsend Hall is named for Harriet A. Townsend (1839-1916) founder of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union of Buffalo in 1884. The organization was dedicated to promoting "the material, moral and intellectual welfare of the women of our city," and did so with lectures, classes and vocational training at the original Townsend Hall on Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo.


History and Chronology

  • 1903 -- Erie County Almshouse constructs a Nurses Dormitory (this building will later be named "Townsend Hall" on UB's South Campus)
  • 1915 -- Women's Education and Industrial Union, Buffalo chapter, donates their four-storied building on Niagara Square for UB's College of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1922 -- The College of Arts and Sciences moves out of Townsend Hall on Niagara Square and into Foster Hall on the University's new campus. Millard Fillmore College, the University's continuing education program, moves into the downtown unoccupied building.
  • 1931-32 -- The former Nurses Dormintory is renovated for the Biology Department.
  • 1954 -- After the University no longer owns the building on Niagara Square, the name "Townsend Hall" is transferred to the Biology building on UB's campus.

Building and Construction Information

Architects: George Metzger, 1903
Edward B. Green, 193
Size
: 19,356 sq. ft