Where Tradition Intersects with Forward-Thinking Strategies

The Beginning

Babb & Company was established by J. Donald Babb in 1929, a visionary leader within the business community renowned for his commitment to excellence. Following his untimely passing in 1967, the company flourished under the guidance of a dedicated team of stockholders. In 1969, Babb Inc. expanded its footprint by acquiring property on the North Side, including the prestigious William Penn Snyder mansion at 850 Ridge Avenue, marking its entrance into the historic Allegheny City neighborhood.

With a growing influence in Eastern Pennsylvania, Babb Inc. further solidified its presence by acquiring Higham, Neilson, Whitridge, and Reid in 1972. Our dedicated staff serving the eastern regions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are based in Malvern.

By 1980, Babb Inc. came under the ownership and management of the Livingston Family. Since the early 1980s, the company has undergone several strategic acquisitions, notably establishing a significant presence in Fort Myers, Florida, in 2010.

Mr. Babb

Our Historic Headquarters

According to the date inscribed on the leaded glass window on the first landing of the grand staircase, the residence for William Penn Snyder was constructed in 1911. Designed by the architectural firm of George Orth & Brother, the mansion bore a construction cost of $450,000. Situated on Ridge Avenue, our historic headquarters stands as one of the last grand residences erected along the thoroughfare, once adorned with the homes of prominent figures whose legacies still adorn the names of buildings and streets in downtown Pittsburgh.

During the Gilded Age, the Snyder residence epitomized opulence and refinement. However, after approximately a decade of occupancy, it stood vacant from around 1921 until the late fall of 1930, when it was acquired by the Knights Life Insurance Company to serve as its corporate office. Following extensive cleaning and renovation efforts, the mansion was once again inhabited in the early spring of 1931.

Preservation of the original Snyder home's charm and dignity has been a priority throughout its history. As the company grew, necessitating additional space, an expansion was undertaken in 1948. Diligent efforts were made by the architects to source matching stone for the addition, as the original Hummelstown Brownstone quarry had long ceased operation. Despite this challenge, sufficient similar stone was salvaged from railroad siding piers at the quarry site, ensuring continuity in the architectural aesthetic.

The Knights Life Insurance Company, initially incorporated in 1917 in Delaware, operated as a subsidiary of the Knights of St. George and was headquartered in Pittsburgh. By 1962, it had grown to become the largest component of the American General Group of Companies. Following this milestone, the company underwent a name change to American General Life Insurance Company of Delaware in 1963, marking a significant evolution that ultimately contributed to the establishment of AIG.

Notably, the Knights Life Insurance Company played a crucial role in providing life insurance coverage to Pennsylvania residents, particularly coal miners. Their policies offered remarkably low premiums, sometimes as minimal as $0.25 per month, providing vital financial protection with policies valued at $15,000 during the 1950s.

Connect with us!

Please connect with us on social media or contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to speaking with you!