Townsend is a city in and the county seat of Broadwater County, Montana, United States. The population was 1,867 at the 2000 census. Lewis and Clark passed through on the voyage of discovery in 1805, although the first white settlers, homesteaders and Civil War veterans in search of gold, did not arrive until the late 1860s. In 1883, a railstop was established as businesses became established supporting gold mining in the region. Townsend was named by railroad officials, in honor of the wife of Charles Barstow Wright, president of the Northern Pacific (1875-1879).
Situated at approximately 3800 feet above sea level. Located approximately 35 miles from Helena, the state capitol and 35 miles from the convergence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers which form the headwaters of the Missouri River. Nicknamed "the first city on the Missouri River" Townsend sits nearby the southern tip of Canyon Ferry Lake (a part of, and fed by, the Missouri River) a popular recreation destination and Montana's third largest body of water.