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Here on the Cass River on March 1, 1849, four men led by Townsend North and James M. Edmunds found a suitable place to build a dam and start a town, which was named for Edmunds' Uncle, Matthew Vassar, later the founder of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The growth of the town for the next 30 years was based on lumbering and its many related industries. Cork pine, the best variety of white pine, grew in abundance along the mighty Cass River and was in high demand. These trees of the forest grew to a height of 150 feet, often with diameters exceeding three feet. The wood was light and strong and easy to work with. Millions of board feet were marketed all over the world, especially in America's prairie states. With the forests depleted, Vassar developed a diversified economy that is still evident today in agriculture, manufacturing, and commerical business. The rich history has helped Vassar earn its popular nickname that is known around the state-the Cork Pine City. In 1999 Vassar celebrated its sesquicentennial. Events were held through the year in celebration.