Our History

//Our History
Our History2018-09-27T15:30:06+00:00

In 1970 our company was founded by a local attorney, Norman B. Nelson, under the name of Skagit County Title. By March of 1971 Skagit County Title was opened to the public. Norman’s dedication to excellence was evident by his customers’ support and loyalty. The company grew quickly and gained a reputation for its knowledge and integrity. Facing retirement in early 1980, Norman sold his interest to the underwriter, First American Title Insurance Company based in Santa Ana, CA. An association with a the national corporation allowed both companies to market and co-brand by using the name First American, even though the majority of Skagit County Title was owned locally.

Three interim managers succeeded Norman before the present general manager, Gale Hickok. Prior to his appointment, as GM in 1984, he had worked as a title officer for Skagit County Title Company from its inception until November 1976. For several years following that Mr. Hickok served as the manager of another title company in Skagit County. Under his leadership First American Title of Skagit County experienced dramatic growth from 1984 to Present.

Gale has been quoted as stating: “It is our mission to assure that our role enhances the real estate transaction experience for everyone involved. We value the contribution we make to, and support we draw from, the companies and communities we serve.” That is why in 2006 Gale, along with 5 other local business men, tendered an offer to purchase Skagit County Title dba First American Title of Skagit County. By December of that year they had acquired all of the stock and decided to pick a new local name to match the new local ownership; thus Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow was adopted.

Our Skagit County offices are located in Mount Vernon and Anacortes, Washington for your convenience. As a title company, Guardian Northwest deals with real estate records of the past, but our focus is always on the future. 

Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow Company also serves Island County with offices in Oak Harbor and Camano Island.  Washington Title Insurance Company (Guardian’s predecessor) is believed to be the original title company in Island County.  The records, known as tract books, date back to the inception of the company.  Washington Title became a branch of Pioneer National Title Insurance Company.  It was then purchased by Jack Barrett, Mel Milby, Beriah Brown and James Kotschwar in 1983 – renamed to Pioneer Title Company of Island County.  In 2008, Guardian purchased the company and changed the name to First American Title of Island County.  In September 2018, the two Island County locations were rebranded as Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow Company.

Guardian Northwest continually sets the standard by developing creative services and bringing innovative products into the marketplace.