First American Title celebrates its 100th anniversary
August 22, 1989, SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA
The celebration was preceded by a two-day management meeting, an annual event specially scheduled this year so that the managers across the country could attend the party. A time capsule, contributed to by mayors of Orange County's cities, was installed at 3:00 p.m. Following the ceremony at 3:30 p.m., Donald P. Kennedy, chairman of the board, and Parker S. Kennedy, president, led the way to their private party. About 300 clients, employees, associates and friends attended. They were treated to a variety of special food and drink.
The general celebration, which began at 6:00 p.m., was attended by approximately 15,000 people. Many of the country's largest real estate developers and brokers, bankers, attorneys, securities analysts, escrow officers, and local and state officials enjoyed the party.
Four blocks were cordoned off for the evening, and most of the activity took place in two parking lots located adjacent to the company's national headquarters in downtown Santa Ana. Guests were treated to music supplied by Les Brown and His Band of Renown in one area and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers across the street.
Park Avenue Caterers of Orange provided the fare, and reported that the birthday cake, the largest ever made in Orange County, weighed 4,190 pounds and was 8 feet high, 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. Some 387 gallons of butter cream frosting was used to decorate the four-tiered pastry. Three and a half tons of sliced fresh fruit and two and a half tons of fresh vegetables were served. Sandwiches and fajitas were also provided, the latter requiring 6,000 chicken breasts and 27,000 tortillas. An estimated 4,000 balloons and 222 large flower arrangements decorated the site.
First American, although national in scope, is an Orange County company. Its forerunners were established on the same day Orange County came into existence. They were merged into Orange County Title Company in 1894. The name change to First American took place in 1960 due to expansion, but the company maintains its headquarters in downtown Santa Ana, very near where the first office opened. The company continues to be led by its founding family, who were Orange County pioneers 100 years ago.
The company's growth has occurred primarily during the last 32 years. In an expansion program under the leadership of Chairman of the Board Donald P. Kennedy, First American has build an organization serving every major real estate market in the country.
First American's principal business is the issuance of title insurance policies. A title policy is an insured statement of the condition of ownership of real property. The policy protects the client against title defects, liens and encumbrances existing on the date the policy is issued.
Today, First American operates through a network of more than 4,500 offices or agents in all 50 states. It also provides title services abroad in Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom. The First American family consists of 13 title insurers and 39 title subsidiaries maintaining their local management.
In the company's 100 years, there have been few changes in top management. Four of the five company presidents have been members of the founding family. D.P. Kennedy is the grandson of C.E. Parker. Parker S. Kennedy, the founder's great-grandson, is currently serving as president. While the founding family still directs operations, the firm is not family held. Its stock is listed on the NASDAQ National Market System.