Yates Mill is a restored grist mill that dates back to the early 1760s and served Wake County for over 200 years. The mill is located at 4620 Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. The mill and the area around the mill were converted into a park through a cooperative effort between the Yates Mill Associates and NC State University in an effort to preserve the mill and prevent its continued decay.
Of the 70 gristmills that once served Wake County, Yates Mill is the only one still in operating condition. The water-powered gristmill was an important economic and social center for residents of Wake County from colonial times through the early 1900s. Gristmills provided the important service of grinding corn and wheat into meal and flour. In rural areas of North Carolina, before towns or crossroad-stores developed, gristmills served as public gathering places for scattered rural populations. Millponds were popular locations for fishing, swimming and picnicking. Yates Millpond is again a popular gathering place, as it once was in the past. The mill continued operation until the 1950s, when it closed for lack of business. North Carolina State University obtained title to the mill and the pond in 1963. The property was part of a 1,000-acre tract that was purchased for use by North Carolina State University Field Laboratory’s experimental farms and demonstration fields. Shortly after the University obtained the property, John Daniel Lea – the miller who had worked at the mill since 1898 – operated the mill for the last time as a demonstration.