For much of its early years, the residents of Cross Village depended on fishing and agriculture. This changed around 1880, as the lumber business picked up in Cross Village, as it was across Michigan. The new industry brought many new people and businesses to Cross Village. During the lumber boom, Cross Village produced more lumber than neighboring Petosky, sending shipments as far as Great Britain.
By 1870, the lumber industry was growing at an incredible pace in Michigan. By 1880, the lumber boom had hit Cross Village, when L.J. Bovee started a sawmill in town. At one point, the mill was the largest in all of Emmet County, employing 22 men. Cross Village quickly grew to a population of 500. By 1900, Cross Village had 3 hotels and a hospital, along with 5 large buildings that housed small stores.
As quickly as the lumber industry grew, the decline happened even faster. Following the turn of the century, the lumber industry began to disappear across much of Michigan, and in 1911, the lumber mill in town closed. Cross Village began to lose some of its population, and in 1918, the boom was officially busted after a devastating fire took out most of the town.
Cross Village's location on Lake Michigan helped the lumber industry prosper in the late 1800s