Celebrating his 83rd birthday today, Historic City News congratulates Herbert L. “Herbie” Wiles and thanks him for his many years of selfless service to St. Augustine and St. Johns County.
Inspired by his father, Randy Wiles, who served on the St. Johns County Commission for eighteen years from 1940 until 1958, Herbie served as a St. Johns County Commissioner for three consecutive terms from 1966 until 1978.
Herbie founded Herbie Wiles Insurance in 1961; a local institution now operated by his son, former Florida Representative Doug Wiles.
Herbie began his agency in a small office on Cordova Street, employing only a secretary. He was working for WFOY radio in the mornings and on weekends and building his insurance agency Monday through Friday. The agency quickly outgrew its initial office building and moved to its present location in 1966. The Carl D. Langston Agency was purchased by Wiles in 1974 and in 1976 he acquired the T.R. Weathersby Agency.
The dwelling at 400 N. Ponce de Leon Boulevard was in a state of complete disrepair and significant renovation was required prior to occupancy. While converting old dwellings into businesses had been commonplace in St. Augustine, Herbie was the first businessman in the Saragossa Street area to complete such extensive renovation — turning an eyesore into a local landmark.
Herbie has been an inspiration to many other businesses in the area that have followed suit in converting older homes into offices.
Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News contributed photograph by Lindsay Wiles Gramana