James C. Jordan, one of Iowa’s most influential early settlers built this house, probably in phases, between 1850 and 1870. Jordan represented Valley Junction (now West Des Moines) in the Iowa Senate and was influential in introducing legislation to move the state capitol from Iowa City to Des Moines. Under Jordan’s leadership the first school in Valley Junction was built. Religious services for all faiths were held in his home. Jordan was apparently a staunch abolitionist, and is said to be the “Chief Conductor” of the Underground Railroad for Polk County. While it may not be possible to substantiate such a broad claim, his pastor eulogized him by stating “In the troublous days of slavery this great heart reached out and helped the oppressed, seeking the north star of freedom.”1 What can be documented reliably about Jordan is that he assisted John Brown on his famous last trip from Kansas before the raid at Harper’s Ferry.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 2001 Fuller Road, West Des Moines, 50265
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: West Des Moines Historical Society
Location Type: Site
UGRR Operatives: James C. Jordan,John Brown
Religious Denominations: Methodist