Sam Cox (’70), Frank Bridwell (’66), and Jim Anthony have made a “dream come true” atop Glassy Mountain.
Jim explains that he initially bought 190 acres on the mountain with the help of another man. As they got into the deal, his partner decided he wanted out. Jim then turned to his brother-in-law, Sam Cox, and a friend, Frank Bridwell. At this time, they teamed up to begin the development of Glassy Mountain. They all explained that they had no idea that this project would meet all their expectations and then some. They have watched a cluttered mountain turn into a beautiful golf course community which has recently been named the fourth most beautiful golf course in the country by Golf Digest. They have also had feature articles in the Links Magazine and Golf Magazine touting The Cliffs as a premier golf course.
When they began this venture, they had no aspirations of building a golf course or making this a golf course community. When asked how the golf course came about, Jim responded, “We had someone to approach us wanting to build a golf course on the mountain. This person said if we could come up with 175 acres of land he would build the golf course.” Jim further explained that the clearing of the land for the golf course began in the winter of 1990 and the course construction began in the spring of 1991. He added, “We now see that the golf course is the enterprise of this project.” They have also added a poll and tennis court complex, and the club house is under construction to be completed by the spring of 1996.
After the initial acquisition of the 190 acres of land, Frank Bridwell explains, “the real work began. We give the credit to Jim Anthony for his tenacity and perseverance in approaching land owners and working out the sale of property. Many of these land owners’ families had been on this mountain for generations, and this was no easy task.”
Jim was quick to rebut this praise saying, “we would not be here had we not created good will in all our transactions. There is no way to put a price on good will. When you make a friend in your business dealings, this friend can sometimes help you to get to the next level.”
Frank also explained that in the initial stages of the project they held a land auction in May 1990. At the time, the project was about one-third of the way up the mountain and the group needed financing from this land sale to continue the work for projects such as roads and utilities. He added that this proved to be a success and allowed the work to continue.
When asked to what they attributed the success of this project, Frank was quick to add, “As I look back on the events throughout this development, I am convinced that the providential hand of God was involved. The Lord has truly performed a miracle here.” Jim added, “Based on the resources that we had available I am truly amazed that we have experienced so many successes in this development project. Our perseverance and hard work have really paid off.”
The questions of their philosophy on the conservation of the environment on the mountain was raised. Jim Anthony responded, “Our goal in developing the mountain has been to conserve the environment. The mountain is a beautiful piece of land. We have made every effort to work with Mother Nature, rather than bulldozing. We have utilized the natural beauty and rock formation and have set aside the environmentally sensitive areas.”
Jim commented that he feels much of their success has been in their teamwork without problems. He stated that sometimes when the going gets tough, tempers flare and problems arise. In surveying their situation, he added, “I appreciate the patience of Frank and Sam and the support they have given me thus far in this project. Throughout the project we have never had a problem.” Frank added that he feels that it took the expertise of each of the three men to reach the early goals which they established.
When asked about the progress of the real estate project, Jim Anthony added, “we have sold 600 lots and have 300 more to sell. We anticipate that in one to two years we will sell every lot on the mountain.
Financial success has not propelled any of these men to a level of forgetting those in need. They have been very generous to NGC and recently made a substantial gift valued at $542,500. This gift is 71.41 acres of land, lying in Hurricane Township of Pickens County, SC, adjoining Lake Hartwell.
Plans for this land on Lake Hartwell are currently undecided. Several ideas have been discussed, including a place of recreation and retreat for NGC faculty and staff. Also mentioned was a camping area for student camp-outs.
This group of men also donated a lot on Glassy Mountain that is “up for sale.” The proceeds will go to the Residence Hall Building Project so that the college does not incur any debt in the construction of the two residence halls.
Their generosity does not stop there. The NGC Mountain Club has a fundraising golf tournament each year, and they allow the tournament to be played on the Cliffs Golf and Country Club. They also allow the NGC Golf Team to practice on the course. Sam Cox has a nursey and has donated well over 100 trees to beautify the campus at NGC. They sent a crane over to clean out the college lagoon and this saved the college thousands of dollars.
Sam Cox attended NGC and met his wife, Jane Anthony, while a student. He received his B.A. degree from Western Carolina University. After receiving a master’s degree he taught school for four years and worked as an assistant principal for two year. Operating convenience stores on the side, he decided to go into this work full-time and today has three convenience stores and a nursery business. He commented that if not for NGC, he would never have completed his college work. Sam told of his mother’s encouragement, “My mother told me to attend NGC for just one semester and if I didn’t like it I could drop out. I liked the small setting and the friends I made there and am grateful for the background I received.”
Frank Bridwell attended NGC for three semester and transferred to Clemson University. He majored in Dairy Science and went to work for Sealtest Foods in Quality Control just out of college. He continued with this job except for a short stint in the service until they company wanted to transfer him to New Orleans, LA. It was then that he and his wife decided that Greenville was to be home. He went to work for the federal government where he stayed for 13 years in the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. In the spring of 1985 he went into the real estate business. Frank adds that even thought his home was only 12 miles away he is glad he lived on campus. He stated that he treasures the time he spend here, the friends he made, and the way these experiences influenced his life. He especially remembers fondly the time he spent in the home of Professor and Mrs. Fess Blackwell and his special friendship with their son, Robert Blackwell.
Both of these men realized at the time of our meeting that they shared the common bond of NGC’s making a real difference in their receiving their college education. They shared similar stories about their parents’ pushing them to give North Greenville a try, and it was through the care and concern of faculty and friends that they decided to continue and received their college degrees.
Although Jim Anthony did not attend NGC, his interest in the future of the college is genuine.
As we were concluding the interview and thanking these three men again for their generosity, Jim Anthony commented, “Success is giving back part of what you make. We must take the opportunity the Lord gives us and we must share to be happy.” With this type of philosophy, it is easy to see why God has blessed them with success.
Photo: From left, Sam Cox (’70), Frank Bridwell (’66), Dr. Epting, and Jim Anthony.
Written by Beverly Carlton (’70) and printed in the September 1995 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.