Fall tours feature history, machines, the chemistry of food

The waterwheel, ring gear and pinion gear

Critical machinery at Yates Mill: the waterwheel ring gear where it meshes with the pinion gear and drive shaft. Photo by Hunter Krauss.

You may have visited Yates Mill lately, but how much did you really see? Take one of our tours this fall for an insider’s view of the mill, its machinery, and the culture and history it represents.

Our regular weekend Mill Heritage tours continue every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. through the last weekend in November (Nov. 24-25). Your guide and the mill operator will tell you about the history of Yates Mill, the role it played in the community in its early days, and what makes our milling machinery so special.

On the third weekend of each month — Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 17-18 coming up — the mill tours take on a special flavor. You can watch us grind delicious cornmeal and buy some to take home, while costumed interpreters bring history to life in the mill yard. Corn-grinding weekend tours begin every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Saturday (with a break for lunch) and from 1 p.m. until 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

All our regular mill tours carry a small fee ($5 for adults, slightly lower fees for seniors and young people), which supports Yates Mill Associates’ efforts to keep Yates Mill in working condition.

Want to see more of Yates Mill? You can get a look of all four floors and two centuries’ of milling machinery on the Tip Top to Bottom Mill Tour at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. You’ll see all of the milling machinery – some of it original to the mill and some painstakingly restored to represent the creation of Oliver Evans, the most famous engineer you’ve never heard of. This two-hour tour is most appropriate for ages 14 and older. Pre-registration is required, and tour tickets start at $10 for adults.

Kids can investigate the mysteries of history on Saturday, Nov. 10, with our History Detective Tour. Young guests (recommended ages 5-12) can solve puzzles, hunt for clues and use real historic artifacts to unlock the secrets of milling. The tour is $4 for kids aged 5-16 and free for the youngest guests. Accompanying adults pay $5 ($4 seniors). Pre-registration is encouraged.

Chemistry blends with cuisine on Homeschool Day: Bread — A Slice of Science. Did you know that the tiny critters that make bread rise live all around us – even in the air we breathe? Get to know them under the microscope, make a wacky bread sculpture to take home and explore how wheat was ground at the water-powered mill. Pre-registration is required for this event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. All ages are welcome; fees are $6 per person (and children under age six must be accompanied by an adult).

Get more details on Yates Mill tours on Historic Yates Mill County Park’s website. And remember, it’s a big park — take a look at some of the other fun programs you can enjoy on the grounds.


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