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.
forests depleted, Vassar developed a diversified economy that is still
evident today in agriculture, manufacturing, and commercial 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.