Yates Mill has its origins in a mill that began operating on this site in the 1750s. Today, it is the last mill standing of approximately 70 that existed over the decades in what is now Wake County.
The original mill was built by Samuel Pearson and owned by him and his heirs until 1819. The mill changed ownership several times until 1863, when it became the property of the Yates family, which owned it until 1947. Yates Mill was acquired by a corporation under the direction of A.E. Finley and last operated to grind corn in 1953 or so, then sold to North Carolina State University in 1963. The mill stood vacant for many years until local history lovers formulated plans to restore the mill, incorporating as Yates Mill Associates in 1989.
Yates Mill is an outstanding example of the automated milling system patented by Oliver Evans in 1790. It has been restored to what we believe was its operational state during the mid-1800s, with complete corn and wheat grinding machinery.
Under the unique partnership that created Historic Yates Mill County Park, the all-volunteer nonprofit Yates Mill Associates (YMA) is solely responsible for mill restoration, repair and maintenance.
Yates Mill Associates regularly grinds cornmeal at the mill and hosts heritage tours each weekend from March through November. Modest fees charged for these tours go directly toward the upkeep and repair of the mill. All other expenses for mill repair and operation are funded through generous donations from YMA supporters.
YMA restored the mill with donations from governmental agencies, NC State University, foundations, corporations, and many private citizens. North Carolina State University, which owns the property, provided 154 acres on a long-term lease for the park and uses it for scientific research. Wake County purchased 16 acres to add to the park and The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides access to an adjacent parcel of about 400 acres for park use. Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space oversaw the development of this 574-acre park and the county supervised the construction of the A.E. Finley Center for Education and Research. Wake County continues to provide personnel and support to operate the park.
Board of Directors and Officers
The Executive Committee is comprised of the officers and one additional representative from the board.
Jill Adams – Secretary
Corinne Dunn – Treasurer
Bob Harkness – Vice President
Margaret Lillard – President
Robbie Wooten – Board representative to the Executive Committee
Dan Becker, Technical Advisor
Tom Wentworth, NC State University Representative
Head Miller: William Robbins
Business/Membership Manager: Scott Oates
To be named later.
Mabel Dorsey, Emeritus Director
J.D. “Dick” Thompson, Emeritus Director