Women's Union-Townsend Hall

Earlier name: The Women's Christian Association Building
Southwest corner of Delaware and
Niagara Square

TEXT below the Illustrations

This Union of over 1,000 members of all classes, erected the building it now occupies in 1885. it maintains a domestic training department, and many classes of instruction along various educational lines.
Photo source: "Views of Buffalo," Pub. Exclusively for S. H. Knox. Portland, Maine: L. H. Nelson Co.,  p. 16

Plaque outside on the City Court Building
The City Court building occupies the site of the demolished Townsend Hall building.

The 1836 Heman B. Potter House was demolished for the Women's Union building

The Women's Union was the Buffalo chapter of the WEIU, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, an organization originally founded in Boston. It focused on job training and preparation and served as a women's employment bureau. Its nondenominational mission was "to increase fellowship among women, in order to promote the best practical methods for securing their educational, industrial, and social advancement."

A prominent figure in Buffalo's progressive movement, Harriet A. Townsend founded 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.

After the Buffalo chapter folded, in 1915, Harriet Townsend, the founder and longtime president, donated the building to the University of Buffalo, which named the hall for her. The name Townsend Hall (the University of Buffalo night school since 1923) survives.

When the building was sold, the university moved the Townsend name to the Main Street Campus.

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