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Four Men were Keys to Construction: Jones, Williams, Jordan, and Wright (Part 2)

SOURCE: Four Men were Keys to Construction: Jones, Williams, Jordan, and Wright by William Rowe. Special Sesquicentennial Supplement, Ledger-Enquirer, April 30, 1978.


The restless energies of this city builder also led him to serve as a Georgia member of a national advisory council to the Democratic party and to contribute his business leadership as director of Tom Huston, Columbus Fiber Mills, Columbus Plumbing and Heating, Hewitt Contracting, and Columbus Bank & Trust Co.

George Gunby Jordan golfs less today at 62 than formerly, but he is noted for bringing Columbus into the national golfing picture.

He built Green Island Country Club in 1962 with The Jordan Co. and in 1970 established the Green Island Open golf tournament. When Southern Airways became co-sponsor in 1971, the autumn event became the Southern Open and during the first week of September, it will bring the nation's top golfers to Columbus vying for $175,000 in prize money and competing for the enjoyment of area fans.

G. Gunby Jordan, chairman of the board of The Jordan Co., was born in Columbus on Nov. 2, 1915, the son of the late R. Curtis Jordan and Louise M. Jordan. He has sometimes been identified as Gunby Jordan II to distinguish him from his grandfather G. Gunby Jordan (1846-1930), a pioneer in education who helped establish, in 1906, the Industrial High School in Columbus, now named Jordan Vocational High, as the nation's first industrial high school built by a city. It was for the earlier Jordan that Columbus College's business-education-military-science building was named.

Gunby Jordan attended Columbus High School 1927-29, Kent School in Connecticut, 1929-33, and Yale University, where he received his A.B. degree in economics in 1937. He married the former Helen Swift of Columbus on June 18, 1938, and they are the parents of Randy, Helen, Lenora, and Katherine.

Jordan has devoted himself to community service in addition to his business career and hobbies of golf, bird dogs, quail hunting, reading, travel, and flying his own airplane since 1945.

Business includes his service as director of I.T.T., Grinnell, Southern Airways, Gas Light Company of Columbus, Utica Mutual Insurance Co., and Columbus Bank & Trust Co.

He is a trustee of St. Francis Hospital, a trustee and assistant treasurer at Brookstone School; Columbus College Foundation trustee and former chairman.

Jordan has served as chairman of Red Cross and Christmas Seal fund drives and as president of United Way. Green Island Country Club, Big Eddy Club, Country Club of Columbus, and as national president of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Memberships include Piedmont Driving Club, Atlanta; Bay Point, Panama City, Fla.; and Lost Tree Club, North Palm Beach, Fla. He is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus.

City fathers called on Jordan in 1969 to serve on a charter commission to study and draft a charter for the consolidation of city and county governments.

He was the honored choice to serve as King of the 1971 Mardi Gras Ball in Columbus.

Jordan has occasionally taken up the pen to write with authority on questions asked about consolidation while it was being studied, on the bidding procedure in the construction industry, and an explanation of the Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the "Housing Act of 1949" on the basis that It tended to promote a welfare state.

Among his continuing interests is helping to attract a growing number of business and industry leaders to visit Columbus in conjunction with the Southern Open classic. Bringing in another board of directors meeting rewards him with elation similar to, a hole-in-one.

Raymond M. Wright figures he has built at least 2,200 homes in his 28 years in Columbus. This is enough to make an unbroken line of houses on 100-foot lots extending for 41.47 miles. Wright Is also the developer of Hilton Mobile Home Park, one of the largest in Georgia, with 600 spaces.

In one year of 1972 alone, Wright was responsible for 200 houses rising In Carriage Hills near Cross Country Shopping Center in Columbus. He developed the Boxwood subdivision, and Hilton Heights Park in the Club-view and Hardaway school areas.

He once operated as a homebuilder with four companies at once, he was at one time a partner with the late Charlie Frank Williams, and he was associated with a group including Cason Callaway, Ed Gates, and Frank Foley in the development of the Mohina Woods neighborhood of homes.

Another Ray Wright development is the $11 million Dimon Head between St. Mary's and Steam Mill Roads just west of the Lindsay Creek Bypass. This is an area of 86.3 acres planned with 50 acres for single-family residences and nearly 30 acres for townhouses and garden apartments.

Wright also built the Holly Hills Shopping Center on St. Mary's Road. His building includes Atlanta and Phenix City, where he put up the Coweta apartment project.

The volume of production may be less recognized than Wright's status as a builder of distinctive homes, and his innovations in building.

His Ray M. Wright Inc. claims front-runner credit for introducing slab foundation construction and split-level concepts to Columbus.

Wright was born in Olean, New York, on Sept. 2, 1920, and was brought to Georgia by Army parachute school training at Fort Benning. His wife was the former Jane Regal from Haddonfield, N.J. They have two sons, Ernest and Jack.

He studied at the Weaver Academy School of Design in New York and in the University of Georgia extension program in Columbus. Venturing into business in Columbus in 1949, he had a house built and it looked so easy that he founded his company and plunged into his career calling.

Wright felt new products, designs, and ideas were the heart of his building, and he liked to build modern, colonial, ranch style, and various designs that were distinctive and avoided sameness.

He was an area award winner for building Georgia's first Horizon home at 2958 Birchfield Drive in Hilton Heights in 1961. His scrapbook records his saying that "planned use of concrete and concrete products opened my eyes, as well as those of thousands of Georgia citizens who viewed this house."

Wright is among the nominees for an upcoming selection for the National Home Builders Association Hall of Fame.

He has served as president of the home builders associations of Columbus and Phenix City and the Georgia state body and is a national director and budget committeeman of the national association.

He is a member of Columbus Country Club, Green Island Country Club, Big Eddy Club, Rotary Club board of directors, and a director of Columbus Bank & Trust Co.

He views Columbus as a healthy business community with economic stability and steady growth. Wright sees the future requiring great concern and thorough study of every practical method of saving energy and making homes more economical, even for those who can afford to waste.

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