"I Am History, Don't Destroy Please": Three Gristmills and Their Communities in Wake County, North Carolina

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dc.contributor.advisor David Zonderman, Committee Chair en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Gerald Surh, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Matthew Booker, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.author Hawkins, Leslie Erin en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-02T18:05:05Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-02T18:05:05Z
dc.date.issued 2008-05-12 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-05082008-135642 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1556
dc.description.abstract The custom gristmill was a center of business and economic activity. Mills ground wheat into flour and corn into meal for millions of customers, providing a source for staple grains for both consumption and trade. Blacksmith shops, cotton gins, wool carders, community stores, and distilleries often soon followed the construction of a new custom mill. These services made the mill more valuable to both the owner and to the community by bringing local farmers to the mill site, thereby generating additional revenue for mill owners. The local gristmill, however, was more than a place of business. Millponds were popular places to fish and swim, and local churches often used millponds for baptisms. Mill yards offered common ground for neighbors to meet, trade, catch up on the news, and even date. Some mill owners formalized the social uses of their mills and ponds by renting boats or allowing the public to fish, swim, and picnic at the site. By using newspaper articles, oral histories, and county records to describe the history of three gristmills in Wake County, North Carolina, Yates Mill, Lassiter Mill, and the mill at Lake Myra, this thesis is able to elaborate on the importance of the social roles the custom mill played in the growth and development of its community. All three mills ground grain for area customers, and all three mills filled a variety of social needs for their communities as well. Traditionally, area residents could fish, swim, date, and trade goods at each mill as well. The last miller at Yates Mill began to formalize those activities by building and renting boats to mill visitors who wanted to fish on the pond. Today, Yates Mill is the centerpiece of a research and recreational park owned by NC State University and managed by Wake County. The nonprofit group Yates Mill Associates restored the mill and continues to be responsible for the continued maintenance and interpretation of the mill. The Lassiter family more formally recognized the social and recreational uses of their mill site by allowing county residents to continue to fish, swim, and picnic, even after the mill itself burned. Homes now surround the site, but the milldam and a portion of the mill's foundation remain. The Lassiter Mill site is preserved as a part of the Raleigh Greenway System, with picnic tables and a plaque that briefly describes the site's long history. Finally, during the last decades of the mill at Lake Myra's operation, the site was developed and marketed more as a recreational facility with swimming, fishing, boat rentals, and a community store than as custom gristmill. The mill has collapsed, but the private family that currently owns the property is working with the Wake County department of Parks, Recreation, and Open Space to develop the lake into a county park. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dis sertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject Lassiter Mill en_US
dc.subject Wake County en_US
dc.subject Lake Myra en_US
dc.subject Yates Mill en_US
dc.subject gristmills en_US
dc.subject community en_US
dc.title "I Am History, Don't Destroy Please": Three Gristmills and Their Communities in Wake County, North Carolina en_US
dc.degree.name MA en_US
dc.degree.level thesis en_US
dc.degree.discipline History en_US

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