Cerebral Gibberish

What's on my mind, might just blow yours.

Milling Around: Yates Mill Park

Posted by heymoe on July 21st, 2008

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I picked up a new lens on Thursday (Hopefully the last one for a while. This hobby is getting expensive 🙂 hehe), so I decided to take it out for a spin this weekend. My first stop was Historic Yates Mill County Park.

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Yates Mill was 1 of 70 Wake county gristmills dating back over 200 years. Out of the 70 mills, Yates Mill is the only one left standing today. In 1963 North Carolina State University took ownership of the land the mill is located and in 1989 The Yates Mill Associates began restorations of the mill. In 1996 NCSU and the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture decided to allow Wake Country to convert the 558 acres of land into a park. The park planning hit its first speed bump when Hurricane Fran came through the area and breached the dam draining the millpond and damaged the shed portion of the mill building. Restoration of the mill and the dam was completed in 2005 and the park opened to the public on May 20, 2006. There is a lot more history about the mill available HERE.

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Getting to the park was easy and there was plenty of parking. There is a really nice and air conditioned welcome center which has displays telling the history of Yates Mill as well as information about how mills work and the wild life in the area. There is a nice patio area behind the welcome center that has a view looking over the pond with the mill in the background. The path to the mill is well maintained with benches to rest at and some old parts from the mill along the side of path to explore.

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Reaching the mill itself I was surprised to see people dressed era clothing from mill’s hey day. I have to applaud their dedication to their job since it was very hot and humid that day and they were wearing long pants or full era style dresses. I mean I was wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt and sweat was pouring down my face as it was. Any ways, it looks like they were giving tours of the inside of the mill as well as demonstrating how it operated. I opted to skip the tour this time and headed down the path to the left of the mill down to the water wheel and dam.

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It was very peaceful in this area with the sound of water flowing and the beauty of the water flowing over the dam like little water falls. The water wheel of the mill was not turning when I first got down there since it seems they only turn it on when there is a tour group going through which seemed to be about every 20-30 minutes. It was really neat to watch them unleash the water with a big gush to get the wheel turning. Once it got turning they lessened the flow to keep it moving. I did run into another snake behind the dam but I saw it well in advance unlike last time. To the parks credit, they did have signs saying that there are snakes in this area as well.

From there the path takes you up a hill to a picnic area and a deck / pier that over looks the pond and gives you good view of the mill. I’m pretty sure the path would take you all the way around the pond but it was just too hot and humid that I decided to head back to the welcome center to cool down and then on to my next stop (so I thought.. stay tuned).

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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