Yates Cider Mill
Yates Cider Mill is the last operating mill in the former Township of Avon, the only still-operating remnant of the community's agricultural heritage. This business has been in continuous operation since 1876, and as such, is the oldest native business in the City of Rochester Hills. The current building was constructed in 1894 to replace the original mill (built in 1863) and has been used as a cider mill continuously ever since.
Backstory and Context
In 1863, Caroline S. Yates, wife of William Henry Yates, purchased 80 acres of land in section 13 of the Township of Avon, along the Clinton River. The Yates family constructed a dam across the Clinton River and began operation of a grist mill on this site. The grist mill was converted to cider making in 1876. The Rochester Era reported on August 24, 1876: "W. H. Yates has begun to gush—that is he is squeezing the gentle apple into cider, and he has invited us to bring down our 'little brown jug' and get it filled. Look for us at any moment."
The original mill was rebuilt and replaced by the present structure in 1894.
Frank William Yates, son of William H. and Caroline S. Yates, carried on the operation of the cider mill and passed in on to his own son, Harry L. Yates. The Yates family sold the cider mill to Charles M. Posey in 1959, and members of the Posey family continue to operate it in 2020. This structure received the Earl Borden Historic Preservation Award from the Rochester Hills Historic Districts Commission in 1991.
William Henry Yates was born in the state of New York on December 10, 1820, the son of John G. Yates and Catherine Sipperly Yates. He married Caroline Heymer and the couple had one child, Frank William Yates, who was also born in New York. William H. Yates died on January 30, 1911.
Yates Cider Mill received a Michigan Milestone Marker from the Historical Society of Michigan in 2013 for 150 years of service, and received a Michigan Historical Marker in 2016.
Durant, Samuel W. History of Oakland County, Michigan. 138.
1950 East Avon Rd., Inventory of Historic Properties, Avon Township, 1978.
"W. H. Yates has begun to gush...," Rochester Era, August 24, 1876.
"W.H. Yates has the foundation of his new mill well underway," Rochester Era, July 20, 1894.
"Yates Cider Mill Rebuilds Dam," Rochester Clarion, September 2, 1976, p.6.
John Sipperley and Elizabeth his wife, to Caroline S. Yates, 14 April 1863, consideration $800, E 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of section 13, Township 3 North 11 East, excepting a strip of land reserved for the purpose of a canal or race, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 76, p.184.
State of Michigan to Frank W. Yates, 27 September 1902, order relinquishing state interest in lands reserved for the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal to adjacent property owners including Frank W. Yates, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 233, pp. 593-594.
Oakland County Probate Court, order determining heirs of Caroline S. Yates, deceased, order dated 1 July 1911 naming Frank W. Yates, son of deceased as only heir-at-law, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 253, p.15.
"'Bill' Yates Dead," Utica Sentinel, February 3, 1911, p.8.
"Frank Yates in Critical Condition," Rochester Clarion, September 6, 1935, p.1.
"Frank Yates Buried Here Sunday," Rochester Clarion, September 13, 1935, p.1.
Rochester Era, January 25, 1889