Yates Cider Mill
The Oldest Cider Mill in Michigan

Born in 1863, Yates Cider Mill is the oldest cider mill in Michigan. With six generations and a 160-year history, it remains a treasured part of the fabric of the Oakland County community.

To truly understand the Yates experience, it helps to know where Yates came from, what drives its spirit, and how it has evolved over the decades.

Back when the nation was in the middle of the Civil War, back when Abraham Lincoln was president, Caroline and William Yates made a decision that would chart the course of the future for generations.

The Beginning
The Yates Family

In 1863, Caroline S. Yates, wife of William Henry Yates, purchased 80 acres of land located along the Clinton River in what was then the Township of Avon.

The Yates family made improvements to an existing dam and mill building and then immediately began the new Yates mill business, operating a sawmill and gristmill service to the surrounding farmers and settlers. Soon, the demand for apple cider began to grow as farmers planted apple trees on their land, and by 1876, Yates added apple cider pressing to its list of services.

By the early 1900s, Yates was exclusively a cider mill. 

For a time, William Yates was a charter member of the State Cider Makers’ Association of Michigan, for which he served as treasurer. 

The original mill was rebuilt and replaced by the present structure in 1894, and at that time a 26-inch water turbine was installed to power the mill.

William and Caroline’s son, Frank William Yates, later carried on the operation of the cider mill. He then passed it onto his son, Harry Yates. In the 1930s, Harry was responsible for introducing donuts to customers at the mill. (Donuts and cider – the perfect pairing in our humble opinion!)

The Transition
The Posey Family

Charles M. Posey was a skilled machinist, mechanic, and owner of a snack shop just across Dequindre Road. Harry Yates frequently called upon Charles for assistance with anything mechanical. They became fast friends, and when it came time for Harry to retire, Charles and his wife, Ruth, were the perfect fit, as they both had worked with the Yates family for nearly 20 years. They took over in 1959.

Charles and Ruth Posey’s son, Les Posey, who grew up working at the mill, took over ownership in 1975.

Yates Cider Mill received the Earl Borden Historic Preservation Award from the Rochester Hills Historic Districts Commission in 1991.

The Present Day
The Posey-Titus Family

 When Les Posey decided that he was ready to retire and sell the business in 2006, his daughter and her husband, Katie and Mike Titus, took over as owners. Katie had grown up in the business, and Mike was a farm-boy engineer who had always had a fondness for Yates Cider Mill and the amazing history that it represents.

With full support from Katie’s grandfather, previous Yates Cider Mill owner Charles Posey (1919-2013), the couple took over the business and are the current owners.

Both have carried on the family legacy, the traditions, and the spirit that has made Yates what it is today.

Yates Cider Mill celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013, and at that time, Katie and Mike Titus accepted the Michigan Milestone Award from the Historical Society of Michigan.

A Michigan Historical Marker was placed at the site in 2013.

And that water turbine that was installed in 1894? It’s still there. It’s still being used to generate power to press that amazing apple cider. And it’s still an essential part of what makes Yates Cider Mill so unique.

The patriarch of Yates Cider Mill, William Henry Yates, was born in the state of New York on December 10, 1820, to John G. Yates and Catherine Sipperly Yates. He married Caroline Heymer, and the couple had one child, Frank William Yates, who was 9 years old in 1863 when the family moved to Michigan from New York. William Yates died on January 30, 1911. 

Frank Yates lived from 1854 to 1935. His son, Harry Yates, lived from 1889 to 1979.

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