Hemlock: A “Right to Dance Community”!

November was approaching, and I was contemplating the Lake of the Month. I thought to myself, what could possibly be going on at Hemlock Lake in November?!? Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled across the Little Lakes Community Association (LLCA) in Hemlock! Operating in the recently acquired Old Hemlock School, they happened to be hosting a swing dance in the gymnasium of their building. Great dance music was provided by Hanna and the Blue Hearts, who are well renowned in the Rochester music community.

Square Dance at LLCA

The Little Lakes include the western-most of the Finger Lakes and the communities surrounding Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, and Honeoye Lakes. The LLCA is in the process of rehabilitating the 16,000 square foot school located on Main Street in the Town of Hemlock. The school was originally built in 1929, and served the community in that capacity for 30 years. From 1958 until 1975 it was annexed to the Livonia School District, and then was rented by the Honeoye Central School District until 1982. In 1983 it was purchased by local resident and school alum Jack Evans for use in his business, other small businesses, and community events. In 1996 Mr. Evans gifted the building to Town of Livonia for use as a community center. The LLCA took ownership of the school from the Town of Livonia in June of this year.

From littlelakesny.org website:

“The Mission of the LLCA is to restore and preserve the Old Hemlock School, to build community and welcome visitors to the treasures of the Little Lakes.

Photo courtesy of littlelakesny.org

“The Vision of the LLCA is to provide benefits to residents and visitors of the Little Lakes region of NYS (Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice and Honeoye Lakes). Our goal is to create an inviting and energetic place where people throughout the area can come together to learn and share knowledge while promoting activities to enhance the quality of life. We will work together to strengthen our community while supporting, promoting, and collaborating with local entities as we restore the Old Hemlock School, using sustainable technology in a manner that supports the environment.”

Although “I could have danced all night,” I did have the opportunity to explore the whole facility. Historian Rick Osiecki showed me the History Room, a rotating exhibit of photographs and memorabilia depicting life in the region over the centuries. Rick created the website https://hemlockandcanadicelakes.com which sheds light on the past and present of these wonderful communities. If you want to find out about the barns, cemeteries, churches, fairs and festivals, and oh, so much more around these lakes, check out this very thorough resource.

History Room at the LLCA

Bob Thompson, LLCA Steering Committee member, took me on a tour of the building, which includes a tack room, a yoga studio, and a wood shop, open to community members who pay a nominal monthly fee for the use of the space. There is a variety of available spaces that can be used for classes, workshops, parties, and small business.

Wood Shop at the LLCA

LLCA President Mary Ann Thompson told me about grants they have been awarded, the support they received from State Senator Catharine Young, and their plans for the future. She showed me around, introduced me to several people, and shared her passion for this vibrant new community center. What a breath of fresh air to see a group of people working together for the good of the community! And I loved their slogan: “A Right to Dance Community”!

The LLCA is “a team of hard-working, dedicated residents who have made it their goal to promote community while restoring and preserving the Old Hemlock School.” With the enthusiasm I witnessed that night, they will certainly succeed! May you dance your way into the future!

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