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Beginning Monday, March 19, 2018, Vilas County Government is implementing a more comprehensive security policy.  Beginning today, the main Courthouse entry, located curbside on Court Street, becomes the only Public ENTRY and EXIT point for all members of the public visiting the Courthouse and the Circuit Court. 

All other Courthouse ENTRY points are closed to public use.  All existing EXITS will be maintained for EMERGENCY USE ONLY by the public and staff alike.

You will no longer be able to enter the Justice Center – Sheriff’s Department – Jail from within the Courthouse.  You must enter the Sheriff’s Department and Jail at the Justice Center single public entry, behind the west end of the Courthouse, facing the river and Birch Street.  Parking is available at the west front lot of the Courthouse and also directly in front of that entry.


Incidents of violence in rural Courtrooms and Courthouses are increasing.  Vilas County Government desires to be proactive and has implemented this security policy to better protect you, the public and all County staff while visiting and working in the Court and the Courthouse.

Over the next several days, you will notice a uniformed security guard stationed at the single Public ENTRY and EXIT point.  A weapons search procedure will be conducted at this location.  Please be mindful of that and allow yourself a little extra time when visiting the Courthouse.   You will no longer be able to bring certain items into the building that you may be used to carrying on your person, such as pocket knives, etc.

Prohibited Items

Please leave all such items at home or in your vehicle

  1. Legal firearms, including pellet and BB guns
  2. Facsimile weapons
  3. Martial arts weapons
  4. Batons
  5. Brass knuckles
  6. Alcohol
  7. Gun case or holder (empty)
  8. Ammunition
  9. Explosives
  10. Legal knives or edged instruments
  11. Stun guns
  12. Chemical mace
  13. Razor blades
  14. Heavy metal items such as locks, chains, handcuffs, large keys
  15. Live animals other than authorized service animals
  16. Combustible gases or flammable liquids
  17. Any item which could be construed as a potential weapon by screening personnel
  18. Any item deemed a security threat
  19. Items such as bicycles and skateboards which are deemed a nuisance will not be permitted in the courthouse

The Sheriff’s Office and/or screening personnel shall not either store or voucher any items to be reclaimed later.

Vilas County Government is aware that these security procedures represent a significant change in County policy and practice, affecting all individuals entering the Courthouse facility.  You understanding and patience is appreciated.

Vilas County desires to provide all visitors and staff with a safe and secure Court and Courthouse facility.

If you have questions, comments or concerns, you may call Vilas County at 715-479-3600


You may email the Vilas County Board via the County Clerk’s office at


Vilas County History

Vilas County was created on April 12, 1893 by act of the Wisconsin Legislature and was named after William F. Vilas of Madison, Wisconsin. Born in 1840, Vilas moved from Vermont to Wisconsin in 1851, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1858, attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Civil War and served as Postmaster General of the United States (1885-1888), Secretary of the Interior (1888-1891) and U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (1891- 1897).

The first officials of Vilas County were appointed by the governor and were as follows:
T. I. Loughlin, County Clerk
F. J. Deckert, Register of Deeds
N. A. Colman, District Attorney
T. B. Walsh, Treasurer
W. D. Neville, Clerk of Court
Max Sells, Sheriff
Daniel Graham, Surveyor
Alex Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
James Oberholzer, Coroner
E. C. Allen, County Judge (who served until 1895 when he resigned and
F. W. McIntyre was appointed by the Governor to fill the unexpired term)

Prior to January 1, 1875, Vilas County was part of Marathon County; from 1875 to 1885 part of Lincoln County; from 1885 to 1893 part of Oneida County and then set apart as Vilas County in 1893.

When Vilas County was first set off, it contained the two towns of Eagle River and Minocqua. Aside from scattered lumbering or logging operations, the village of Eagle River was the chief place of activity in the County and was established as the county seat. Construction for the courthouse in Eagle River was started in 1893 and the courthouse opened in 1894. Eagle River has remained the county seat to this date. The second volume of the County Board shows that in 1899 the County was divided into Eagle River, Arbor Vitae and Minocqua. In 1900, Flambeau was created and in 1905 Hackley (now Phelps) was created and the present boundaries of Vilas and Oneida Counties were made final. On January 3, 1907, State Line (now Land O’Lakes) was set off from the town of Eagle River, as was the town of Conover.

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