Jordan Park, located between 9th and 13th Avenues South and just west of 22nd street, was the city's first African American public housing complex. It was built between 1939 and 1941, during a time of enforced segregation in the city. Much of the property was donated by its namesake, Elder Jordan Senior, a successful businessman and advocate for African American rights.
In 1937, City Council created a housing authority to seek badly needed public housing. Jordan Park's first phase of 242 units was opened several years later, but opposition among some in the community to further public housing was brewing. City Council put off approving the planned second phase and instead scheduled a referendum. It passed by just 70 votes out of nearly 4500 votes cast. By 1941, another 204 units were finished resulting in about 1800 people calling Jordan Park home.
In 2000, most of the historic Jordan Park housing was demolished, replaced by 237 new units. The only parts of the original Jordan Park housing project left untouched were 31 units known today as the Historic Senior Village as well as Jordan Park's old administrative building which became the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in 2006.
Among the many who have called Jordan Park home are acclaimed actress Angela Bassett, two time Super Bowl champion Glenn Edwards, former Bayfront Medical Center Chief of Staff Paul McRae, longtime educator Willie Felton, and School Board Chair Rene Flowers.
Controversy has surrounded the future of these historic buildings since 2016 when the SPHA bought back Jordan Park, moving residents out of the Historic Senior Village in an effort to redevelop the housing complex and demolish all 31 of the historic bungalows that make up the Historic Senior Village. Many of the areas homes are in need of renovation, however demolition has only been requested for the Historic Senior Village- the only building left of the city's first African American public housing complex. At this time, the craftsman-style bungalows that make up Jordan Park remain vacant. There has not been any finalized plans for the fate of the project.
Jordan Park is very much a part of the city's history, and its few remaining original residences and administration building deserve to be preserved, renovated, and reused. The rich history these buildings represent should never be lost but preserved as a reminder of the area's intended purpose and the struggles to achieve it.
Preserve the 'Burg is working to protect the various buildings in Jordan Park. The Jordan Park Administration building is being nominated to the local historic register by City Council. This will help ensure the preservation of this building for years to come.The fate of the remaining original residences remains unclear. Preserve the 'Burg is exploring opportunity to preserve them into the future as well, if the community will is there to do so.