It was to go through various changes of use until it was bought in 1886 and transformed into the Home for the Friendless. From the booklet that was handed out on the tour:
"It was organized in 1868 with the backing of 21 Protestant churches by Edward Bristol, a concerned Buffalo businessman...However, throughout its history until 1980, the Home was operated and managed by women and overseen by a board comprised only of women. To this day it is run as a not-for-profit facility..."
"The early residents were destitute and friendless women who were helped to find work, then to working and professional women, alone for a time or for life, and now to the aging-well."Life was especially hard for a women on their own back then. Even if married they were considered "property" and were not able to vote. If alone, they were unable to be hired for most jobs. Many took to the streets doing whatever it took, and many also fell into the bottle. Bristol Home was a second chance place, offering training and a safe haven. Some had a hard time adjusting to polite society, thus the rules and regulations (click to enlarge, not that it helps much):
Many of the early social reformers were women, such as Maria Love, who was born in Clarence NY in 1840. There were also a lot of church run facilities. They saw a need and stepped up.
And to this day Bristol Home is still helping low-income and elderly women. They will be holding a fundraiser September 24, 2010 "An Affair to Remember". Call Jennifer at 716-884-4371 for details on how you or your business can help, or email jblackchief (at) bristolhome (dot) org.