Friday, May 5, 2017



Afternoon rush hour traffic passed oblivious to the beauty and majesty of a bit of history of rural Wake County.  Nestled off Lake Wheeler Rd, down the hill from N.C State University Research Farms is the Historic Yates Mill Park. 

A grist mill has operated on this site since 1750's.  The mill was owned and operated by Samuel Pearson until 1819.  Ownership changed hands over the years until 1863 when the Yates Family acquired the property and operated it until A.E Finley bought the mill in 1947 and operated it in conjunction with N.C State University farms.  In 1989, the Yates Mill Associates restored the mill to its early 1800 appearance.

The mill is served by a large lake around which is a splendid loop trail which provides several window views of the mill silhouetted against the blue lake and green forest.

A nice wooden bridge connects the trail to the parking lot near the visitor's center.  The lone evening fisherman proclaimed this to be the best place to be at 5 pm in Raleigh...and I believe him!
The park is a popular site for professional photographers to bring their clients for photography popular, the park now requires the pros to sign up and be approved for a badge.  Being strictly an amateur, the Fat Bald White Guy was given free reign to explore every photographic aspect of the park and its signature feature, Yates Mill.

The water flowing over the dam was mesmerizing.  I returned again and again to this feature and photographed it from many angles.  Waterfalls are always alive and this one may even have a soul.


The interplay between the warm afternoon sun and the cold water created a fine misty fog that enveloped the old water wheel.  I think it is best captured in a black/white filter. 

The setting sun also cast some interesting shadows on the water wheel.

Second only to the cascading water, the old waterwheel received a good share of my photographic attention.  I had to try to recreate an "old" photograph with a denim filter.

Leaving the water wheel, I took one last shot framed by the new spring growth greenery of the nearby trees.

The front of the mill is interesting as well.  The restoration formed a nice grass courtyard between the mill and the adjacent barn on the banks of the mill pond.

Planted wildflowers hug the banks of the pond and were reflected in the sunlight. 

This is a wonderfully renovated mill.  I must return soon and get some pictures inside.  The large mill pond makes this a nice afternoon walk.   If you are in Raleigh, take a hour and visit this place. 
The Historic Yates Mill Park is located at 4620 Lake Wheeler Road.  It is ten minutes from Downtown and ten minutes from NC State main campus. 

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