About Jim Bowie's
The Restaurant
Getting Here
Contact Us

The Jim Bowie's Relay Station is more than just a family steakhouse. Itís almost like a theme park with a small, historical village built around the restaurant.

Thatís why people from all over Catahoula Parish and other parts of the state come to Enterprise, LA for a meal and a good time. 

Grist Mill
Sweathart Bridge
Esso Station
Blacksmith Shop
Hall of Heros
Nature Trail
Swinging Bridge

School House
Cedar Church

Livery Stable
Hog Pen

Roark Grist Mill
Many of the materials for the Roark Grist Mill were recycled from buildings and equipment no longer used by their original owners. Lumber from the old "Doughty House", built in Manifest, LA, in 1901 was used to construct the outside. The inside lumber, doors and windows were salvaged from the Enterprise School.

The working part of the grist mill is a 1946 Meadows mill, which was located in Cold Water, MS. The line shaft and large pulleys are from an old cotton gin and were donated by Mr. A. J. Gibson of Ferriday, LA.

The water wheel is so well balanced that it can be turned by a garden hose. The metal part of the wheel was built by Merle Givens, and the wooden parts were built by Roy Watson and John Ed Bartmess.

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Sweathart Covered Bridge
("Sweethart" spelled incorrectly as a personal joke between John Ed & Shirley)

Sweethart Covered Bridge is 100 feet long and 12 feet wide. The foundation and piers (6'x12" x 16' creosote timbers) were obtained from Herbert Terry of Harrisonburg and installed by hand by Jeremy Cassels, Earl Isonhood and twins Chris and Tim Palmer.

The Alligators under the bridge are some of those obtained from George Bartmess. The catfish were donated by Ruby and Ancel McGuffee.

Visitors may feel free to feed the alligators and the fish. We encourage "Sweetharts" to write their names and special dates on the bridge.

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Esso Station - Big John Wilson's 1942 Dodge 1 1/2 ton Truck
Went into service March, 1943 and used as a military fire truck at Camp Livingston and then Camp Beaugard.

Big John's Duce And A Half then went to Pollock, Louisiana where it served faithfully as a fire truck for 30 years.

Retired and abandoned for many years before being purchased by Johnny Wilson of Nebo, Louisiana.

Restored in 2002 by Johnny Wilson and donated to Jim Bowie's Relay Station.

Model WF 32
Serial # 81306054
Gross Weight 11,380*
Maximum Payload 7,080
Date of Delivery March 22, 1943*
US-23 Octane Rating of Gasoline 72

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Humble Blacksmith Shop
Henry Humble, a Baptist minister and blacksmith was pastor of Catahoula Baptist Church, the first Baptist Church west of the Mississippi River. Upon Brother Humble's death, the church called his son James Humble , a seven foot tall blacksmith, as their pastor.

Later Reverend Humble was elected by the citizens of Catahoula Parish to the Louisiana Legislature, which met in New Orleans, Louisiana at the time. During the first session of the legislature, Mr. Humble said something that offended a short, five foot two inch, Creole legislator from New Orleans. The Creole immediately challenged the seven foot tall blacksmith to a duel.

Brother Humble said, "Sir, since you challenged me it is my understanding that I can choose the time, place and the weapons for the duel". The Creole legislator said, "Sir, that is correct". Brother Humble replied, "in that case, I choose daylight tomorrow morning, in six feet of water of Lake Pontchartrain, with sledge hammers".

The five foot two inch legislator's friends said, "Man, what you going to do, get a box to stand on to fight that big fellow?" The legislator answered, "I can not fight a man with that good of a sense of humor". The seven footer and the five foot two incher became friends and political allies.

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Hall of Heros
Dedicated to our Service Men and Women.

John Ed and Shirley encourage all Men and Women who have served in the military, to bring a 5X7 or 8X10 framed picture, to be placed in the Hall or Heros. Please bring a brief bio. concerning the years served, branch served, and locations that you have served in the military.

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EE Johnson 4-H Nature Trails
The E.E. Johnson 4-H Nature Trail is to honor the memory of Mr. Emmet Elsworth Johnson, Catahoula Parish County Agent from 1933-1970.

Mr. Johnson was recognized nationally many times, but I remember him as being the most community minded man I have ever known. Also, I remember Mr. Johnson as being there for the young people of Catahoula Parish, taking pictures to be put in the newspaper, and encouraging us to do our best in 4-H, FFA, Sports and Civic Affairs.

The Nature Trail was built and is maintained by the Catahoula 4-H Club Junior Leaders. Mrs. Melissa Cater is their sponsor.

The trees & shrubs were identified by Brian Wade, a senior forestry student at Louisiana Tech. The signs marking the trail and trees were made by the Sicily Island High School FFA chapter and Mr. Jimmy Blaney, Faculty Sponsor..

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Swinging Bridge
This 64 foot long Swinging Bridge was designed by John Ed Bartmess and built by Keith Ruddell, Christopher Givens, Hannah Grace Givens, Brad Butts and John Ed Bartmess.

The piers at each end of the Swinging Bridge are sunk in concrete eight feet into the ground.

(Load Limit 5 People)

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Boat House - Jarrod Finley Boat - Built between 1908 and 1911

Mr. Jarrod Finley cut one Cypress log and floated it to the Black River sawmill to get lumber for this boat. Mr. Finley ordered a new "T" Model motor to put in the boat, which is still in the boat.

The Finley boat was first used as a fish boat. However, when Black River Lake was created he converted it to a supply boat. Three days a week, he took ordered while going up river to Harrisonburg where he bought groceries and delivered them while going back down river. Also, three days a week he went down river taking orders on his way to Simsport and delivered them on his way back up river.

During school the Finley Boat was used as a school boat. Mr. Finley also had a mail route up and down Black River. Several years after Mr. Finley's death, Mrs. Finley gave the boat to Mrs. Pearl King, whose son; Ronnie King donated it to Jim Bowie's Relay Station.

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Enterprise School House - 2002

This school building was constructed in part as a tribute to the educators who served in many similar buildings throughout our country and to their students who took advantage of the opportunity they provided.

Before Mr. John Ed Bartmess retired as a Catahoula Parish educator he conceived the idea of Jim Bowie's Relay Station and began to collect materials for it. When he had completed the restaurant and country store and the gristmill, it was time to plan his school house. His brother George had bought land in Northern Arkansas on which stood a building that had been used both as a school and a church during the time when a number of families farmed the land. He decided to use it as a patern for his school.

The Enterprise High School 1934-94 had been closed and consolidated with Harrisonburg High School. Subsequently the building was hit by a tornado. Later the Catahoula Parish School board decided to have it torn down. Mr. Bartmess was able to obtain enough wainscoting from two of the cloakrooms to put in the cloakroom of his school.

The bell in the school came from the first ferry boat crossing the river at Duty, LA on the Ouachita River.

Former students of the community, their children, grandchildren and friends enjoy seeing their pictures in the school.

After considering many names, Mr. Bartmess decided to hame his building the Enterprise School in honor of the community where he has lived since 1969, and where he was principal of the school until 1994, when it was closed.

Written by Euzelia Chase

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Cedar Cross Chapel

"And the earth brought forth vegetation..and God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:12.

We are to use whatever resources God has blessed us with to the best of our ability and thank Him for them. In building the chapel, John Ed Bartmess considers it a privilege to use cedar, timber deemed worthy by King David and King Solomon of being included in the building of the temple at Jerusalem. The cedar for Cedar Cross Chapel was cut from land in northern Arkansas owned by George and Helen Bartmess. George, John Ed's brother sawed the trees down, then milled them into 6"x6' timbers, hauled them 460 miles to Enterprise and donated them for the chapel. He also donated the cedar boards for the ceiling and pulpit, and the logs for the benches.

It is fitting that the chapel is the most beautiful building at the Jim Bowie Relay Station. The skylights and the numerous windows allow the worshipper to see his surroundings and remind him that he is part of the vast universe. "And God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good." Genesis 1:31a. Appropriately, the first worship service was the Easter sunrise service on April 20, 2003.

The organ in the church was once owned by Brother and Mrs. J. H. Crews. Brother Crews was pastor of New Ouachita Baptist Church for forty years. The old organ was one his father had bought, then given to Jack and Boncile. It was an object of interest to many children of the community when they visited the parsonage.

The four sky lights, Love, Joy, Peace, and Faith, were painted by Pat Rider of Columbia, LA and are based on Galatians 5:22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace....faith". Three of the chalk drawings were done by Brother George Treutlein, who followed Brother Crews as pastor of New Ouachita Baptist Church, and who uses chalk talks as part of his ministry. Brother Scotty McDowell made the fourth chalk drawing.

Cedar Cross Chapel has 33 crosses, one for each year Jesus lived on this earth. The 33rd cross, the iron cross on the front door, was made from a shay (chaise) wheel rim by world champion guitar picker Moon Mullins from Mountain View, AR.

Written by Euzelia Chase

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Uncle Earl's Pig Palace

During the 1960's and 70's America was in a period of turmoil. This was the era of the Vietnam War. Which produced protest marches, the hippie culture, sit ins, and violence. It was also the time that produced the phrase PIGS to refer to our police officers. America's police officers took this negative term and turned it into one with positive aspects. The initials were used to describe what it took to be in law enforcement. These initials stood for Pride Integrity and Guts. These are qualities that mark the professional police officer.

On December 13, 1968, Earl Isongood left the U.S. Navy after having served nine years. On December 16, 1968, he was sworn in as a police officer with the city of Oakland, California. Thus started the collection of pigs contained in this building. The very first pig was a large red, white and blue stuffed pig given to him by Debbie Henry, the daughter of Delbert and Betty Henry. On 16 years of retirement he returned to law enforcement with the Catahoula Parish Sheriff's office and put in another five years. During the entire police career and afterwards, friends continued to give Earl pigs for the collection. At last count there were 1060.

The collection consist of pigs made of all sorts of material including paper, yarn, glass, pewter, wood, iron, cookies, candy, pecan shells, coal and even ash from the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helen's. Some are handmade and others were brought back from overseas. All but twelve of the collections have been gifts from friends and family. Earl purchased the other twelve when he just couldn't resist the uniqueness of a particular pig.

The collection has been displayed in Earl's home but due to its continued growth most have had to be boxed up and stored in the attic. John Ed Bartmess, owner of Jim Bowie's Relay Station, decided to build this building to house the display so that more people could view them.

It is Earl's desire that all who view this collection stop and thank God for men and women who are willing to serve on the front lines in law enforcement and those who display what this collection is trying to emphasize:


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Livery Stable

In 1837 Benjamin Franklin Cassels purchased the Ferry, Ferry Landing, Stage Coach Relay Station and Livery Stable from a Mr. Zeagler. (This is where we get the name "Relay Station" for our restaurant.)

The Livery Stable was the second building built at Jim Bowie's and was used for storage and material to build several of the other buildings.

We are presently emptying the building to make room for a Farm Equipment Museum.

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Hog Pen

The Jim Bowie's Relay Station have had several groups of motorcyle riders each weekend. We have designated an area in front of the station to park motorcyles. We call it our Hog pen!

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Alligator under Sweathart Bridge
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