Melba Robinson Nevius and her younger sister Mary Robinson Moody spent the years of their childhood and adolescence in Old Glenville. The sisters remember the community in the days prior to the construction of Thorpe Dam and reservoir. Old Glenville sat in a fertile valley along the banks of the Tuckaseegee River. Small, family farms speckled the landscape. "People farmed with horses, mules, and steers. All crops were set out by hand and harvested by hand." The Robinson family lived on a small farm. "We had our own food, milk, butter, eggs, and chickens. The house was simple, and the cracks in the walls allowed the house to be 'air conditioned' by Mother Nature." The town consisted of a school, the Baptist and Wesleyan churches, a post office, a general store, and an inn called the Fowler House. "Neighborly love" tied the community together. People were always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. The tight knit community was a safe haven for children. "The only thing we ever had to worry about was every once in a while, there'd be a drunk man come singing up the road."

When plans for the dam were finally underway, Old "Glenville began to change rapidly. However, many people welcomed the project. Daddy was glad to see it because it brought work." As a result of the project, many families were displaced. The Robinsons moved before they were forced from their home. Their parents believed that the home, located beside the road, had become a dangerous place for the children due to the increasing traffic. Their father built a new house a few miles away and moved the family before displacement began.

During World War II, electricity reached their family. A light bulb hanging from the ceiling was the sisters' first taste of electricity in their home. A radio soon followed. Electricity changed their lives drastically, simplifying household chores. They were most excited to get an electric iron, which would relieve the uncomfortable duty of heating up an iron in the summer heat.

Though their way of life was altered greatly, the family embraced their new, modernized life with electricity. "I know in a lot of ways the building of the dam helped the people. And it spoiled us too."

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