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Fall 2013
A History of the Humboldt Land Title Company
By Phil Arnot

The Humboldt County Historical Society and Humboldt Land Title Company have a common bond: they each began in 1947. That year, my father, Maynard E. Arnot, opened Humboldt Land Title Company in the corner of the Vance Hotel at Second and G Streets. He had very few employees at the beginning, but the company grew. Those initial employees were Walter Malott, Byron Curry, Lois Petersen, and himself. I was not considered an employee, but I was the janitor for the new business, being ten years old, and able to empty wastebaskets, sweep the office, and otherwise clean up ashtrays and things like that. There were no facilities to worry about as the company was in the Vance Hotel and their bathrooms were available to us.

One of the early documents my father prepared, in January 1948, was a letter on behalf of the recently formed Humboldt County Historical Society to the Board of Supervisors and other organizations requesting assistance in the purchase of the Carson Mansion as a home for the Historical Society and its archives. The letter, signed by Historical Society president Annie Zane Murray, cites several monetary pledges already garnered and the support of other organizations, including the Humboldt County Pioneer Society and the history department at Humboldt State. I still have copies of the letter. [Copies are on file at the Historical Society.]

In the early 1950s, Humboldt Land Title Company moved across the street to the old Colonial Hotel. Its employee base had expanded from six to eighteen people, and now included my mother, Lucille Arnot. I continued on as janitor until the next big move.

In 1956, my father purchased property at the corner of Sixth and I Streets in Eureka and hired architect Bill Van Fleet to draw plans for a new building for Humboldt Land Title Company. The new plans were completed and the building was constructed in 1956 by Glover Construction. Humboldt Land Title moved in that year.

Even though I was now in college, I continued to work for the company, developing microfilm in the dark room, which assisted the Title Plant in completing chain of titles and examining documents so that policies of title insurance could be issued.

In 1956, two new employees came on board. One was Sue Bosch, and the other was Sally Watson, later to become Sally Arnot and married to the author of this article. Sue Bosch continues to be with Humboldt Land Title Company as its President and CEO. After my parents died, my brother James D. Arnot and I took over the operation of Humboldt Land Title and later I sold my interest to Jim, who continued to run the business until his untimely death in 1997. Ultimately, his estate sold the company to the employees, who continue to operate the business at the corner of Sixth and L Streets in Eureka.

Building the new Humboldt Land Title Building in 1956, at 217 G Street, Eureka.

The completed Humboldt Land Title Building, 1956.

My relationship with Humboldt Land Title Company has not changed since the early 1970s when I became a member of the board of directors. I have served on the board from that time through and including the present.

Humboldt Land Title Company is only one of two remaining title companies in Humboldt. Humboldt Land Title has grown in recent years, opening offices in McKinleyville, Fortuna, and Del Norte County. They employ approximately thirty-three people at the present time.

As I said, I have remained part of the family serving on the board of directors, but thankfully I was able to give up my job as janitor.

We welcome your comments! Please send them to: info@humboldthistory.org . Type "Clio" in the subject line.