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Townsend Hall

photo of building
Current Name: Townsend Hall
Former Name: Biology Building, 1931-1954
Former Name: West Hall, circa 1922-1931
Former Name: Nurses Dormitory, 1903-circa 1922
Location: South

Historical Note:

There were two Townsend Halls in UB's history. The first was located at 25 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 (see the entry for 25 Niagara Square for more information about the history of the original Townsend Hall).

In 1903, the building that is now known as Townsend Hall on the South Campus of UB was built for the Erie County Almshouse as the Nurses Dormitory.  When UB purchased the Almshouse property (now the South Campus), the Nurses Dormitory was one of four buildings that was not demolished to make way for the new campus (the others being Hayes Hall, Wende Hall and Hayes Hall Annex D).  In 1931, the building was renovated for use by the Department of Biology and became known as the Biology Building.  The original veranda on the west side of the building was removed, and Corinthian columns and a classical stone portico were added.  Two dormers were also removed, all to give the building a more classical appearance consistent with other campus buildings.

In 1954, UB vacated the building located at 25 Niagara Square and renamed the Biology Building Townsend Hall.


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.

  • 1903 -- Erie County Almshouse constructs a Nurses Dormitory (this building will later be named "Townsend Hall" on UB's South Campus)
  •  circa 1922 -- The Nurses Dormitory is renamed West Hall
  • 1931-32 -- West Hall is renovated for the Biology Department and becomes known as the Biology Building.
  • 1954 -- UB sells the building at 25 Niagara Square and the name "Townsend Hall" is transferred to the Biology Building on UB's campus.

Original Architect: George Metzger, 1903
Original Size: 19,356 sq. ft

Renovation Architect: Edward B. Green, 1931