Though Vilas’ glory days have long since passed, it still holds some of the key assets that make up a commonwealth. And even if it is missing a few of those said assets the ones that have remained have remained due to the necessity, and the tenacity of the people that make their lives here. The men and women who have given their talents to the town have done so with a deep love of their community. Everyone works hard not only because they have to, but because they want to see the town that brought them up prosper, and return to the times when we had all of these key assets. Three of these assets stand out among the others, and with good reason: Education, History, and Sense of Place.
As one of the few buildings that has stood the test of time, the C.F. Wheeler General Store has aptly become the town’s museum, and tells the stories of residents who once lived in a similar manner to those of the present day. There is much that we can relate to the past as our main focus has always been agriculture, and the presence of pests and struggles of weather and drought have stayed much the same. We can use the knowledge that is stored at the museum for a better future.
Our school is the highlight of our little town, as it is what makes the whole place run. The Vilas Undivided High School has around 30 students attending both the primary and secondary schools. Our athletic program is run through a co-op with two other “local” schools, and we compete in the 1A division. There are many extracurricular opportunities ranging from 4-H to Knowledge Bowl, and most if not all of our students participate in these activities.
Although I am not a very religious man, I do have a great fondness for the Vilas Friends Church. Every weekend I can always count on seeing someone mowing around the building and tending to the bushes and the old Spruces. Many of the attendees are a great boon to their community and are of a charitable sort, participating in food drives to provide for those less fortunate.
If we had other assets, then I would gladly write of them, but as has been stated Vilas is no longer the thriving city with eight saloons and two hotels that it was before the Dust Bowl. Vilas may never have that prosperity again, but we must be grateful for what is left, and all that we still share.