Tuesday’s fire at Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse on Monteagle Mountain apparently destroyed hundreds of historical items of the Louvin Brothers country music stars.
The Louvin Brothers were raised on a farm in Henagar, Ala. The brothers were very popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Charlie Louvin said in the early days the brothers worked third shift at Peerless Woolen mills in Rossville. Louvin said the brothers would take their break from 4:30–5:30 and rush to WDEF radio in the Volunteer building in Chattanooga. They would do a 15-minute radio show from 5-5:15. Louvin said they took turns driving to the radio program and eating sandwiches their mother fixed them.
The Louvins joined the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1955.
Charlie collected all the brothers' memorable and opened a museum at the North Alabama home place. Charlie sold the farm and moved his residence and museum to Bell Buckle, Tn. Ira Louvin died in a car accident in1965. Charlie Louvin died of cancer in 2011.
Former Cleveland, Tn. Mayor Tom Rowland said he was told Jim Oliver and Charlie Louvin were good friends. Charlie’s family apparently donated the museum items to Oliver and he re-opened the museum in his Smokehouse at Monteagle.
When Ken Holloway and I visited the Grand Ole Opry in the early 90s Charlie had a picture made with us and the original hung in Jim Oliver’s museum. Several years ago Judge Russell Bean, who attended the University of the South, took Ben Cagle and myself on a mountain tour. We ended up eating lunch at the Smokehouse and visiting the museum.
The fire apparently destroyed hundreds of Louvin Brothers historical pictures and LP jackets. A fire official said it will be impossible to replace those items. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. There were no reported Injuries. Firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby cabins. The iconic restaurant opened in 1960.