Yates Cider Mill
Yates Cider Mill
In 1863, William (1820-1911) and Caroline (1833-1892) Yates moved from New York to Michigan and purchased 80 acres of land. Using an existing dam on the Clinton River, they opened a water-powered lumber mill. The business soon grew to include a grist mill. By 1876, their cider press had begun offering fruit pressing services to local farmers. In the late 1870s, the Detroit and Bay City Railway, which passed in front of the mill, made Yates Station a busy freight and passenger stop. In 1894, Yates built a larger mill next to the original building to accommodate the area's growing agricultural production. The new mill housed a 26-inch-wide water-driven turbine purchased from James Leffel and Company of Springfield, Ohio. As of 2016, the 1894 building and turbine were still being used to press cider.
The Yates family continued to grind grain and press fruits for local farmers as the mill operations passed to William's son Frank (1854-1935) and Frank's son Harry (1889-1979). When Harry installed a new cider press in 1924, Avon Township had begun to grow. Charles (1919-2013) and Ruth (1917-2008) Posey moved next door to the mill in 1939. Their Posey's Isle shop offered donuts to mill visitors. A 1948 newspaper noted mill customers arriving with their own "glasses, jars, jugs and kegs" By 1959, when Harry Yates retired, the part of the township that became Rochester Hills in 1984 was a major urban center. The Posey family bought the mill, refurbished the water power system, added the outside, decorative water wheel, and expanded the building. Later generations of the Posey family who operated the mill rebuilt the nearby Clinton River dam.