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Shore-Styers Mill Park

All the plants that grow beside the stream
Have surely grown from angels' lips;
Tread roughly on no plant
For it has sprung out of the dust of the tulip-cheeked.

from The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayam

Shore-Styers Mill Park embraces 4.41 acres of lush, mixed hardwood forest, located along North Deep Creek, a tributary of the Yadkin River. The steep hills along the creek, dotted with mountain laurel and ferns, are surprisingly reminiscent of the mountains to the west.

The focal point of the park is a cascade, which has powered several mills situated here over the years. The property is owned by Yadkin County. It was purchased in April 1975 at the urging of members of the Yadkin County American Revolution Bicentennial Commission and many others.

In 1993, a 300-acre corridor along the creek, including the park, was surveyed by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program (you can read the study here). This portion of North Deep Creek was called "a pristine example of a high-quality piedmont stream" by the surveyors. The corridor, named North Deep Creek Bluffs Significant Natural Heritage Area (SNHA), is under constant threat from development and timber harvest.

The park is in a deplorable state. The improvements which were paid for and placed at the park by volunteers (in 2004) have been completely destroyed by vandals. These improvements included a weathered wood sign in the parking area, an information kiosk, hand-painted trail signs and an observation deck which was an Eagle Scout project. The plan for the park's future is not finalized, but must include, among other goals, securing the park to protect it from further damage, expanding the boundaries of the park, and establishing and managing the park as a regionally-recognized environmental education and heritage site. Only when these goals are met will this beautiful and special place be protected for future generations.

A very special opportunity to develop heritage tourism in Yadkin County is our inclusion in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. This writer actively promotes an Heritage Area initiative for the park, which can be found in Yadkin County's master plan on the BRNHA site.

A History of Watermills At The Cascade

It is believed that the first mill built on the creek here was a corn mill owned by John B. Hutchins (b. 1793), a grandson of Strangeman Hutchins and Elizabeth Cox. Later, Motire Holcombe and Daniel Hoots, Jr. ran the Holcombe & Hoots mill. The mill that most folks are familiar with was completed in about 1895. Cousins Isaac Shore (the writer's great, great-grandfather) and Ben Shore installed what was then considered state-of-the-art roller mill machinery. The Yadkin Valley Roller Mills, as the Shores called their mill, was a sturdily built wood frame building three floors tall, resting on a dry-stacked rock foundation of immense proportions. The foundation measured approximately three to four feet thick and some fifteen feet tall.  The mill must have been a marvel in its time.

It would have been a beehive of activity. A sawmill, a flour mill, a corn mill, and an auxiliary mill (the chop mill, which prepared corn for whiskey mash) were run with four large cast-iron turbines. The turbines were turned by the force of water diverted from a large millrace that ran from the top of the cascade, where a low wooden dam was located.

A small building called the "warming house" once stood close by the mill. It was a place to warm oneself in winter while waiting for grain to be ground, with the added bonus of shooting the breeze with neighbors who were waiting, too. The social interactions that took place at the mill are still in evidence today, in the descendants of area families; many a courtship took place there. Picnics, boating and swimming in the millpond were common pastimes.

Local distillers, who used corn for whisky mash, were frequent customers at the mill until 1908, when the Anti-Saloon League pressed for and accomplished their goal for prohibition of alcohol in North Carolina.Some distillers continued to run federally-licensed stills after this date; liquor had, after all, been a profitable source of tax income since colonial times.

Many local farmers produced liquor made from corn, apples, and pears. The income must have been especially welcome when the price of tobacco fell, or when the area's poor roads made getting a crop to market difficult, if not impossible. The owners of "our" mill, Ben and Isaac Shore, were long-time distillers themselves.

The mill passed from Isaac Shore's family to his son-in-law, Joseph Styers, in 1936, five years after Isaac's death. Joe was from the family who operated Styers Ferry on the Yadkin River, and had married Ada, Isaac's eldest daughter. The family lived in a fine house that stood across the road east of the mill site. It was burned by an arsonist in 2005.

In the late 30's, Joe lobbied for a bridge across the creek below the mill, and also for a better road between Old Highway 421 and Shacktown. As a result of his efforts, a bridge was built and Styers Mill Road was cleared. Joe ran the mill until 1946, when he sold it to Nereus Bryant. On June 17, 1949, the millrace burst, and the mill ceased to function. The low, wooden dam across the falls washed out in 1956. These events were the death knell of the mill. The old building gradually fell into disrepair, the victim of time, neglect and vandals. It was finally, and sadly, demolished for salvage in 1976.

The moss-covered foundation stones of the mill lie along the creek. If they could only speak to us, what stories they could tell...

 

FYI-----Report: "Losing Our Natural Heritage"

FYI-----Implementation Plan for the South Yadkin River Watershed(Jan. 2008)

FYI-----Piedmont Triad Regional Open Space Strategy

 

  • THE PARK IS OPEN FROM DAWN TIL DUSK, ALL YEAR.
  • PLEASE KEEP TO THE MARKED TRAILS.
  • DOGS ARE PERMITTED IF KEPT ON A LEASH AND KEPT TO THE TRAIL. PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PET.
  • DEFACEMENT OF ANY PART OF THE SITE WITH GRAFFITI OR OTHER VANDALISM IS A CRIME.  
  • LITTERING AND/OR DUMPING ARE ILLEGAL. CIGARETTE BUTTS ARE LITTER.
  • NO GLASS CONTAINERS ARE ALLOWED IN THE PARK.
  • NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ARE ALLOWED ON PARK PROPERTY.
  • NO RESTROOMS ARE AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.
  • GUNS, KNIVES AND OTHER WEAPONS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON PARK PROPERTY.
  • MOTORIZED VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PARK, UNLESS AUTHORIZED.
  • OPEN CAMPFIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED.
  • THE PARK IS A WILDLIFE SANCTUARY. DO NOT COLLECT PLANTS OR ANIMALS (TERRESTRIAL OR AQUATIC) FROM THE PARK.   PLEASE, LEAVE THE FLOWERS FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF OTHERS AND SO THAT THEY CAN MULTIPLY.
  • DO NOT MOVE OR REMOVE STONES FROM THE DRY-STACKED WALLS OR STREAMBED. DO NOT CLIMB ON THE WALLS...THEY ARE NOT STABLE. THE WALLS WERE BUILT, BY HAND, OVER A CENTURY AGO.
  • This public park is the property of Yadkin County and its citizens. Mischief of any kind will be reported and prosecuted TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.
  • TO REPORT A CRIME OR ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY, CALL THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AT (336) 679-4217 (OR 911 IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY).

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Shore-Styers Mill Park - A Relaxing Retreat in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina - Rest By the Stream at This Historic NC Mill

Retreat and relax along the shore of a historic mill stream. Shore-Styers Mill Park is a great family retreat for the entire family. Located in the beautiful Yadkin Valley of North Carolina, you will love a day of nothing at Shore-Styers Mill Park.

Mill NC Relax Along the Stream County Park Farmers Market Shore-Styers North Carolina Historic Family Park Shacktown

 
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