Yates Mill’s volunteers are ‘a-maize-ing’!

Yates Mill is standing and open to the public because of a great partnership between Yates Mill Associates, Wake County and North Carolina State University. But when you visit the mill, the people who make your visit memorable are our wonderful corps of park volunteers.

Prof. Zonderman talks about the yeoman farmer

Professor Zonderman tells us about Yates Mill's early customers

Recently, we joined the staff of Historic Yates Mill County Park to honor the dedication and hard work of all these volunteers. Those who reached milestones of hours worked or years of service received gifts from the park staff, who also paid special tribute to some extra-special people who give up their free time so you can enjoy visiting the mill and surrounding park.

Park staff honored Gary Hunter — a longtime volunteer who recently joined the board of Yates Mill Associates — as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. We join them in thanking Gary for his dedication, cheerful attitude, welcoming demeanor and enthusiasm!

The group was treated to a presentation by David Zonderman, a professor and associate department head in History at NCSU. As the weekly mill tours have been focusing on the “yeoman farmers” who made up much of Yates Mill’s clientele in its early days, Dr. Zonderman explained to us just what a yeoman farmer was — how he and his family lived and interacted with their community.

The park’s staff compiled and shared some interesting data. In 2012:

  • Historic Yates Mill County Park (HYMCP) hosted approximately 101,324 people — an increase from 96,812 the previous year and the first time more than 100,000 guests have visited in one year.
  • The park provided 546 public and group programs (403 last year) with 12,130 participants (7,759 last year). This included tours, nature hikes, classroom programs, canoeing and summer camps.
  • HYMCP’s largest event EVER, the Fall Harvest Celebration in September, drew about 2,400 people.
  • Guided mill tours alone numbered 316 (258 last year) with 3,763 guests (2,932 last year). These included 70 general public tours, 88 organized group tours, and 158 shorter tours on corn-grinding weekend.
Park staff honors volunteers

Steve Lord (l) and Arlene Lord (r) are honored by park staff Rosemary O'Day and Jennifer Miller.

All those events were supported and produced with tremendous help from park volunteers including these specially honored troupers (in addition to 2012 volunteer of the year Gary Hunter):

  • The Hostess with the Most-ess- Arlene Lord
  • The Yeoman’s Guide- Jenny Haase and Steve Lord
  • Our Most Excellent Event Volunteer- Wesley Pegram
  • The Rising Star- Hunter Krauss
  • The Unsung Hero- Jeanne Robbins

Books about milling history, mechanics and people were presented to volunteers who served milestone amounts of hours or years of service:

  • Susan Jones
  • Roy Corpening
  • Courtney Johnston
  • Lynette LaRosa
  • Marcia McNamara
  • Hunter Krauss
  • John and Sam Rappl
  • Martha Keravuori
  • Arlene and Steve Lord
  • Jenny Haase
  • Howard Harrell
  • Gary Coates
  • Tom Wentworth

Yates Mill Associates joins the staff of Historic Yates Mill County Park in saying thank you — we couldn’t do it without you!


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