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Vilas County

Vilas County is named for William Vilas, who was an officer during the American Civil War, Postmaster General, United States Secretary of the Interior and Senator from Wisconsin.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Gogebic County, Michigan and Iron County, Michigan

E – Forest County

S – Oneida County 

W – Price County and Iron County


Created:  April 12, 1893                         Map of Wisconsin highlighting Vilas County

County Seat: 

Eagle River  1893 – present


County Courthouse – Eagle River


Location:  330 Court Street / Main Street

Built:  1936 – 1937

Style:  Art Deco

Architect:  Robert A Messmer & Brother of Milwaukee

Contractor:  A R Prokson of Iron River, Michigan


Description:  The building faces south and  is a four story light buff colored brick and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Eagle River. The building has a raised basement. The south front has a stone framed entrance projecting from the center section. The building recesses in tiers and there is a small fourth story section in the center. The roof line is flat. In the interior, the south entrance has stairs descending to the first story basement and rising the the second story. The large County Circuit Court courtroom is located at the center of the third story and rises into the fourth story. The second courtroom is located along the north side of the third story. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial District. This was a Works Project Administration project. The architect was Robert A Messmer & Brother of Milwaukee and the contractor was A R Prokson of Iron River, Michigan. An addition was added in 1976 on the east side. The building was remodeled in 2002. The architect was P.T.D., Inc. and the contractor was Adolfson & Petersonn Construction. A two story cream colored brick, glass and concrete addition was constructed on the east side in 2018 to 2020 which contains a large Commissioner Meeting Room. The architect was Potter Lawson of Madison and the contractor was The Samuels Group of Wausau. The County Justice Center was constructed on the north side in 1998 to 1999. The architect was P.T.D., Inc. and the contractor was Miron Construction Company.


Note:  The plans of architect Robert A Messmer & Brother of Milwaukee were accepted on March 2. 1936. The bids approved May 5, 1936 for the construction of the courthouse were; A R Prokson, Iron River, Michigan – general contractor $72,633; John F Ahern, Fond du Lac – plumbing $5,997; Stoeh and Laudon Inc., Milwaukee – heating $8,161 and B R Ahlmen. Rhinelander – electrical $3,550.


See:  The 9th Judicial District includes Florence County, Forest County, Iron County, Langlade County, Lincoln County, Marathon County, Menominee County, Oneida CountyPortage County, Price CountyShawano County, Taylor County and Wood County.


History:  The county was created in 1893 and Eagle River became the county seat. The first courthouse was a two story structure built in 1894. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1936 to 1937 at a cost of $116,363. An addition was constructed in 2018 to 2020 at a cost of $1,100,000.



County Courthouse – Eagle River
















County Courthouse Addition









County Circuit Court courtroom















County Circuit Court courtroom







County Minutes – architect



County Minutes – construction  bids







Picture County Courthouses



County Justice Center – Eagle River





Photos taken 2007, 2010 and 2022