In 1796 Philip Short built a cabin about 1/4 mile in the valley north of Hemlock Lake. He was the forerunner of the Short family whose members were numerous in the area for many decades. At about this same time, Mr. Higby, from Livonia, established a saw mill on the outlet. Logs were coming in large quantities down the lake from Springwater and logging was taking place on the lake shore. In 1808, the Township of Livonia was formed and Hemlock was a part of it. The Hamlet of Hemlock was built upon the lumber industry in the early to mid 1800s. Mills sprung up around Hemlock Lake.
In 1866, it is told that a large crowd assembled in front of the Metropolitan Hotel to discuss the possibility of a fair. That was the beginning of what later became known as The Slab City Fair, The Little World’s Fair, and just plain Hemlock Fair. In 1877, a two day fair was held. From then on, it grew into what largely became contests of horse racing until the early 1900s.