Who We Are

Yates Mill in the 1980s before YMA began restoration. Photo by Gaylen Daves
Yates Mill looked pretty rough in the 1980s, before restoration began.

Yates Mill is a fully restored, circa-1756 gristmill in Wake County, North Carolina, and the centerpiece of Historic Yates Mill County Park. It is the only fully restored, operational automatic mill in North Carolina and one of just a few historic automated water mills in the United States.

Privately owned for centuries, Yates Mill was last used as a community grist mill in the 1950s. Closed up and neglected, Yates Mill was doomed to follow the footsteps of other area gristmills into complete collapse and ruin. Instead, community members rallied around the mill.

Yates Mill Associates (YMA) was formed by a group of local history buffs in 1989 to restore, preserve, and operate Yates Mill. As a non-profit that is solely responsible for funding the upkeep and repair of Yates Mill, we partner with Wake County and North Carolina State University, which owns the mill and park, to maintain and operate the mill.

To fund the upkeep and repair of the mill, we:

Recent and future repairs at the mill:

  • The flume is the wooded structure that controls the water that runs over the water wheel. It is starting to degrade and needs to be replaced.
  • The waterwheel has outlasted is predicted lifespan by many years but it is starting the degrade beyond simple repairs and needs to be replaced. This involves building the waterwheel offsite and lifting it into place with a crane.
  • The siding is starting to rot. While the worst areas have been patched, all of the siding needs to be replaced.
  • Our security system was recently updated to help insure the mill is constantly monitored for its safety and the safety of its visitors.