Jim Bowie, relay station, fire, Enterprise - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

UPDATE: Famous Louisiana landmark burns

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Jim Bowie Relay Station Jim Bowie Relay Station

ENTERPRISE, La., (KNOE 8 News) - The walls of Jim Bowie's Relay Station restaurant are burning down, but the biggest devastation is the memories burning with it.

"Their life is just, to them, in a way, a part of it is just gone," Catahoula Parish resident, Carrie Miller, said.

Firefighters got the call just after 7:00 a.m.

The pride of Enterprise, Louisiana was ablaze.

Four fire departments arrived.

Owner Raymond Nugent spent hours on a fire hose, trying to save this state landmark.

"Words can't describe it," he said. "It's just a sad day."

Firefighters fought but the restaurant was lost, so they worked to protect nearby buildings like the "Hall of Heroes," housing countless local veteran photos and artifacts.

The blaze was contained, no one was hurt and the restaurant burned out.

The Enterprise Fire Chief believes the cause to be electrical, that it started in the back area where the kitchen once was.

But this burning mess of debris once stood proudly.

After starting 12 years ago in 2000, with just 39 chairs, the restaurant would come to serve 65,000 people a year, even from as far as England, China, France and every state except North Dakota.

"There was a lot of folks that would come from slap out of town, right out of state, to come here," Caldwell Parish resident Shawn Guinn said. "It's going to be a great loss, especially with the history."

To this stunned community, the owner still sends his thanks for the memories.

"I apologize that we're not going to be open, but we're going to miss y'all," Nugent said.


PREVIOUS STORY: According to the Enterprise Fire Chief, they believe the cause of the Jim Bowie's Relay Station Fire to be electrical. Firefighters have also determined that it started in the back of the restaurant where the kitchen was.

We'll have a full story on the station burning down tonight on KNOE 8 News at 5 and 6.


PREVIOUS STORY: An overnight fire has gutted the Jim Bowie relay station in Enterprise.

The fire broke out about daybreak this morning with 4 fire departments responding with units, but the structure was too far gone and completely burned.

There is some good news. The "Hall of Heroes" portion of the park area did not burn. That "hall" housed information about local war heroes, and had it burned, priceless donated pictures, medals, flags and the like, from the men and women who served the nation in our military, as well as donations from their families, would have been lost.

The Relay Station, built by John Ed Bartmess, was the pride of Enterprise and a local landmark known and visited by many outside Enterprise. Bartmess was a retired teacher and principal in Enterprise.

In addition to the relay station, the facility was what amounts to a backwoods amusement park with a restaurant and stage for live music as well as the station itself.

The facility was named for Jim Bowie, famous for his innovative knife and his role at the Alamo in Texas. Bowie actually lived nearby in the 1800's.

It was called the relay station because it used to be a stagecoach stop.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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