Yarns Cider Mill was operated for more than seventy years, first by Perry Yarns and later by his son William. Local farmers loaded their wagons with apples each fall and transported them to the closest cider mill to have them pressed to make cider and vinegar. The D&H Railroad at Carbondale and other area businesses also brought large quantities of apples to have cider made for their employees.
Renovation work on the mill began fall of 2012 with the labor of six volunteers and three days of donated backhoe work by Ray Swingle. Trees and brush were removed from around the building, drainage ditches were installed, the parking lot leveled and a temporary driveway of crushed stone was laid.
Kevin Cobb, house jacker contractor, then installed two 28-foot I beams which were jacked and cribbed to straighten the structure and lift the press equipment back into its original position.
Historical Society leases old Yarns Cider Mill
Historical Society President Sandra Wilmot and owner Gloria Suraci Bilotta have signed a 100 year lease for one dollar a year, granting the Historical Society the opportunity to renovate the old Yarns Cider Mill. The Historical Society is working to install a parking lot, repair the building and renovate the machinery to operating condition. The long range goal is to press apple cider on several weekends each fall. A walking trail will connect the Cider Mill to the Hoover School.
The Clifford Township Historical society has begun work on its biggest project yet. Last April, Gloria Suraci Bilotta, owner of the cider mill, signed a 100 year lease with the society stating that for the one dollar a year rent the society has the opportunity to renovate the former Yarns Cider Mill to operating condition. The cider mill is located on route 2014 two miles west of Dundaff corners. Mr. Perry Yarns, and later his son William, operated the mill through the early 1900’s.
Apples were in abundance in Clifford Township due in part to Adam Miller the first settler in the Clifford area. He cleared land on the “flats” and planted the first apple orchard in 1799. The apple trees flourished. If you look closely at the Clifford landscape, you will find clusters of old apple trees throughout the area, and often they are all that remains of an old homestead. The cider mill was busy for three months every fall pressing apples into cider. Vinegar used for food preservation, fresh cider and hard cider were important staples to area residents. The pulp from the pressed apples was fed to dairy herds. Farmers waited in line with their horse drawn wagons loaded with apples for their turn at the mill.
Walter Cook related his memories of farmers making hard cider, each having his own recipe to produce a distinctive taste. This hard cider drew many a young man to Clifford farms during the Depression and Prohibition. A short walk from the train in Forest City or Carbondale wound bring the men to labor on the farms for a free place to sleep (in the barn), an evening meal provided by the farmer’s wife, and a go at the cider barrel before bed!
The Clifford Township Historical Society is honored to have the privilege of bringing the Yarns Cider Mill back to life. Their plans include pressing cider for several weekends each Fall. The mill will be well advertised as a tourist attraction. At present the old mill is in very poor condition. Renovating the mill will take a real community effort requiring donated labor and materials. Already, donations of labor, materials and money have produced great results. If you would like to be part of this project contact Sandra Wilmot 570-679-2723 or firstname.lastname@example.org