In 1932, Len Jordan brought his young family to Kirkwood. He and his partner, Dick Maxwell, purchased the ranch from Leonard and Kenneth Johnson. They hoped to live cheaply off the land and ride out of the Great Depression of the 1930's in Hells Canyon. Maxwell sold his share to Jordan five years later, leaving Jordan the sole owner of the ranch.
When this house was built by the Johnsons, around 1930, it was much smaller than it is today. To accommodate his growing family, Jordan added the sleeping porch and, with the help of Peter Maas, a miner, excavated the root cellar and basement. The most luxurious and innovative addition was the first combination bathtub and basin in Hells Canyon. Concrete was poured into a sheet metal form and a mixing bowl full of sand shaped the basin.
In 1943, Jordan felt the need to move his family to Grangeville, where his children could receive a more formal education than was available in the canyon. He sold out to Bud Wilson, who used Kirkwood as a fall, winter and spring base for his sheep ranch until 1975 when the Hells-Canyon National Recreation Area was established. Today, the Jordan House serves as a residence for Forest Service staff and volunteers at the Kirkwood Ranch.