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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : the villager : the villager January 25, 2015


8/28/2012 1:17:00 PM
Jordan Orchard a gem in Sedona’s jewel case
Picturesque view of the Jordan Farm and Orchard. Courtesy of Sedona Historical Society
Picturesque view of the Jordan Farm and Orchard. Courtesy of Sedona Historical Society
Working the farm: Walt Jordan and the girls. Courtesy of Sedona Historical Society
Working the farm: Walt Jordan and the girls. Courtesy of Sedona Historical Society

In 1930, Walter Jordan and Ruth, his college educated wife from the Phoenix area, began planting the acreage in north Sedona (at the end of what is now Jordan Road in Uptown) that Walter had acquired from his father, Will.

Eventually this would become the Jordan Orchard. In 1931, he built on the property the one room cabin which became the nucleus of the farmstead.

Walter’s plan was for an orchard, but until the apple and peach trees would start producing, the Jordans supported themselves with carrots, beans and strawberries.

Walter and Ruth lived in the single room and begat three children: Annie in 1933, Ruthie in 1934 and Walter, Jr. in 1937.

It wasn’t until 1937/38 that the first addition to the house was made (through the generosity of his mother-in-law so she could spend summers away from Phoenix).

Two bedrooms and a bathroom with running water and a flush toilet. That was pretty fancy living in those days...anywhere in rural America, especially end of nowhere Sedona.

Now Walter was well on his way to becoming the crusty, cantankerous old curmudgeon that he did, indeed, become. If his mother-in-law was willing to spend her money to enlarge his house -- well, God bless her. She died just a year and a half later having enjoyed the cooler summers for a very short time!

The rest of the house was built in 1947, after World War II. You can believe that Ruth thought she was in heaven, going from the one room cabin in 1931 to just over 3,000 square feet in 1947.

Only the one family -- the Walter Jordans -- lived in the home. As the business prospered, the home expanded. It was in the 1970s, as Walter and Ruth were aging, that they began selling off the land.

The children were not interested in trying to keep the family orchard going, and had, in fact, moved from the area. Annie and Ruthie moved to the metro Phoenix area, and Walter, Jr. moved to Pennsylvania.

Walter died in 1987.

Ruth Jordan lived in the home for a number of years after Walter’s death, but when it became obvious that, even with help, she could not stay at the farmstead, she sold the house and remaining acreage to the city of Sedona. She moved to an assisted living facility in the Village of Oak Creek, and died there in the mid-nineties.

The city and the Sedona Historical Society became partners in a venture that would become the Sedona Heritage Museum.

It was an opportunity to offer its citizens a link to the area’s history and to offer tourists (Sedona’s biggest industry) something other than tee shirt shops and galleries filled with art that few people can afford. It was a chance to show the real history of the west as it was not too long ago.

The home and outbuildings are on the National Register. If you haven’t been to the Museum you really should come and take a look at a way of life that is fast disappearing. It is a gem in Sedona’s jewel case.


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