Originally part of the Erie County Almshouse and Poor Farm, Townsend Hall is presently vacant.
A prominent figure in Buffalo's progressive movement, Harriet A. Townsend (1839-1916) 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. In 1915, this building was given to the University of Buffalo by the Women's Educational and Industrial Union. When the building was sold, the university moved the Townsend name to the Main Street Campus.