Honoring the past, marking change at YMA’s 25th annual meeting

Yates Mill Associates honored our longtime leaders and stalwart volunteers even as we made significant changes to the organization’s structure at the May 7 annual meeting.

Finley Boys honored

Saluting the Finley Boys: Bobby Brown, Alton Howard and Dick Thompson (seated) are honored by outgoing chairman Larry Hancock (rear).

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Yates Mill Associates, so our annual meeting was an appropriate time to express our gratitude to some of the people who have brought us success since our early days. You can read the full program and other notes from the meeting here.

We said a fond thank-you to the “Finley boys” — Bobby Brown, Alton Howard and J.D. “Dick” Thompson, whose association with Yates Mill was cemented through its past owner, legendary Raleigh businessman A.E. Finley. Bobby, Alton and Dick were instrumental in helping finance restoration of the mill and construction of the park’s A.E. Finley Center for Education and Research. All three have served on the YMA board and been vocal, enthusiastic champions for Yates Mill for many years.

We also thanked top-notch volunteer Arlene Lord, who dreamed up and now organizes the fall and winter craft sales, and who manages ticket sales for our spring Chickin Pickin’. Arlene received our prestigious Henry Marshall Award. This honor is named for the former superintendent of the N.C. State University Farm, a dedicated and tireless volunteer whose individual efforts for many years saved the decaying mill from an early demise. As an all-volunteer organization, YMA’s success still depends on the ideas, energy and dedication of people like Henry and Arlene, and we are grateful for all of them!

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Still working … still raining

We hope to host visitors soon!

We hope to host visitors again soon!

If you’ve been to Historic Yates Mill County Park recently, you’ve probably been surprised and possibly been dismayed to see that the repairs to Yates Mill’s forebay are still incomplete. We share your frustration.

The problem holding us up is how to keep the pond’s water level consistently low enough to safely remove the old forebay. The new material is ready and awaiting installation, but we have to tear out the leaky old forebay first. And we can’t do that if there’s a danger of a heavy rain sending water spilling into that gap, where it can potentially damage the waterwheel, the underside of the mill and the mill machinery.

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Big repair means small delay in spring tours

Yates Mill wheel and forebay

Just a leeeetle bit leaky – the forebay last July. Photo courtesy Historic Yates Mill County Park.

We’ve got a big repair job this winter at Yates Mill, so it’s a disappointment but not too much of a surprise that we’ll have a small delay in the start of our 2014 tour season.

Our miller, William Robbins, will be replacing the entire forebay – the “box” that carries water from the pond over the waterwheel – while the mill is closed to tours this winter. Unfortunately, the project got off to a later start than we hoped.

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Share your artistic side in the “Mill as Muse” contest

Mill as Muse flier

Click to download a larger version of the flier

Plenty of our visitors find artistic inspiration in Yates Mill and the surrounding parkland. Are you one of them? If so, consider entering the park’s eighth annual “Mill as Muse” art and photography contests.

The staff of Historic Yates Mill County Park host these annual competitions and exhibitions to give community members a chance to show off their skills and to celebrate the beauty of the mill and park. Last year, the 93 entries included 58 photos and 35 works of art.

Prizes are awarded for photographs and for artwork (painting, drawing and more) in categories including nature and wildlife, people in the park, and Yates Mill itself. Separate prizes are awarded in each category for adult and youth artists.

You can turn in your submission any time from Saturday, Jan. 25, until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2. The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at a reception on Feb. 8 The winning entries will be displayed in the park’s A.E. Finley Center exhibit hall through May.

Visit the park’s website to download full contest rules, or call 919-856-6675 for more information.


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East Wake TV says visit Yates Mill!

We’re always glad to see Yates Mill shared with more of our neighbors, especially when the news is accompanied by pictures that do a beautiful job of showing why the mill and park are such great community treasures. East Wake Television visited Historic Yates Mill County Park for a corn-grinding weekend this summer and produced this lovely video, featuring interviews with head miller William Robbins; the park’s program director, Rebeccah Cope; and Yates Mill Associates President Margaret Lillard, explaining why Yates Mill is special to them and to all our neighbors. Thanks to producer Cory Beard and EWTV for visiting and sharing our story!


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