In 1928, at the September 21 meeting of the Regents, plans for a dormitory to house 500 women, outlined by an alumni committee of which Mason Pittman Rumney (1908e) was chairman, were adopted by the Board, a scheme of ﬁnancing its construction was approved, and immediate bids from contractors were authorized.
Malcolmson and Higginbotham, of Detroit, were chosen as the architects, and sketches were prepared under the direction of Alexander L. Trout (1905, 1910e) for the building, to stand just east of the Women's Athletic Field on Observatory Street.
At their meeting on April 24, the Regents approved the plan in general as follows:
Resolved, That the Regents approve in principle the plan of financing the construction of dormitories stated in a communication dated April 16, 1928, from E. J. Ottaway, President of the General Alumni Association of the Unversity, provided that the earnings of the dormitories as estimated are satisfactory to them and in the opinion of the Regents will be sufficient to pay the expense of operation, of upkeep of the buildings and grounds, of renewal of equipment and furnishings, and to pay the principal and interest of the bonds as they mature; and further provided that plans and specifications of the buildings, character of construction, the furnishings, equipment, management, and plan of control of the dormitories meet with their approval. (R.P., 1926-29, p. 548-49.)
A part of the site was bought by the Detroit alumni, and the remainder was purchased by the Regents after condemnation proceedings. The project contemplated the leasing of this land to the Guardian Trust Company, of Detroit, which would finance the erection of the building and, in turn, release the contemplated property to the University.
The prospect of building such a large dormitory, however, caused a serious controversy between the landladies of Ann Arbor, their sympathizers, and the University. The landladies feared that their rooms would be left empty.
Ruth Gjelsness (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1725)
Mosher-Jordan was the ﬁrst large women's dormitory, completed in 1930-31. The building was ﬁnanced by a bond issue and organized on a plan which made it possible for the house to pay for itself over a period of twenty-ﬁve years. The residence consisted of two halls of residence serviced by a central kitchen, but it was operated as two separate social units.
The dormitory was named in honor of two deans of women, Eliza M. Mosher and Myra B. Jordan.