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) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed by a group of local history buffs in 1989 to restore, preserve, and operate Yates Mill. YMA is solely responsible for the upkeep and repairs made to Yates Mill.

YMA’s leadership also developed a public/private partnership with North Carolina State University and Wake County Parks to develop the land around the mill pond into a nature park. This partnership continues today and the park is known as Historic Yates Mill County Park.

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

Recent and future repairs at the mill:

  • The flume/fore bay is the wooded structure that controls the water that runs over the waterwheel. It is starting to degrade and needs to be replaced.
  • The waterwheel has outlasted its predicted lifespan by many years but it is starting to degrade beyond simple repairs and needs to be replaced. This involves removing the waterwheel from the mill with a crane, building a new one offsite, and lifting the new waterwheel back 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.

In Fall 2024, we will launch a Capital Fundraising Campaign to raise the $400,000 needed to replace the waterwheel, flume, and other exterior parts. We cannot do this without you! Please consider supporting us as we work to keep the wheel turning. You can give online or by mail.


Malcolm Fowler Society Award
from North Carolina Society of Historians
Carraway Award
from NC Preservation
Joe M. McLaurin Newsletter Award
from North Carolina Society of Historians
Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Community Appearance
from City of Raleigh
Certificate of Appreciation
from Wake County Board of Commissioners
Anthemion Award
from Capital Area Preservation