The settlement of the town of Jordan began on November 27, 1853 when Thomas A. Holmes sent a crew of men from Shakopee to build a saw-mill. His brother, William Holmes, settled on the site that Thomas called Jordan. The brothers laid out the town in 1854, at a time when only one white man, John C. Smith, was living there. Jordan City was surveyed on land owned by William, and recorded on October 5, 1855.
Settlers came to build homes and businesses. The first grist-mill was built in 1854-1855 by William Varner, who also built the first log home after the survey. The first blacksmith shop was built in 1854 by Halken Peterson, and the first store was built in 1855 by Joseph and Barkley Varner. The Jordan Post Office was established in 1856, with William Holmes as postmaster.
Neighboring Brentwood was surveyed in September, 1860 on land owned by S.A. Hooper, J.H. Gardner and R.W. Thomas. By special act of legislature, approved February 26, 1872, Brentwood and Jordan City were incorporated together under the name of the village of Jordan, its limits including about 640 acres.
By the census of 1880, the village had 915 inhabitants, with the advantage of two railroads. The businesses of the village included two flouring mills powered by little Sand Creek, one elevator, one grain warehouse, two breweries, one stone quarry, one lumber shop, one harness shop, one blacksmith, one gunsmith, one baker, one boot and shoe store, three general merchandise stores, two hardware, two groceries, two millinery, two drug stores, two meat markets, two jewelers, two hotels, eight saloons, one newspaper, one attorney, one real estate agent, and one physician.
Today Jordan is home to 6,500 residents and numerous retail, service and industrial businesses. The City of Jordan boasts that “as growth occurs, the people and the Jordan City Council strive to keep the community’s small-town flavor. Jordan honors its history during the annual Heimatfest. These unique celebrations help connect the old and the new in Jordan – it’s a great place to visit and an even better place to call home.”
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