The home where Kate "Ma" Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 remains almost in the same condition it did then in Ocklawaha, Florida August, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Scott Audette
With its rich history, the remarkable house in central Florida could be a steal. Though the well known tenant — one tough mother — may be hesitant to move on.
A family who have held the lakeside Ocklawaha summer home where gangster Ma Barker died during a marathon gun fight with FBI agents in 1935, have finally put the luxurious hideout up for sale. It has all the original furnishings along with patches over the 1,500 bullet holes that dug into the walls and cabinets.
Though a few did end up in Ma Barker and her son Fred, who held the federal force off for four hours. Carson Good, great-great grandson of the man who owned and rented out the place to Barker, said the property never had a morose feel about it. Instead, it was a retreat to vacation at, while jumping into the spring-fed Lake Weir right out front.
Though every weekend, the curious still drive up and try to trace Barker’s last stand — which she took in her slippers. “A third of them have to be Canadian,” Good figures of the tourists, noting our nation seems to have an appreciation for tales of vintage outlaws and American justice.
And there were also the stories that add to it. Not just of the original shoot-out, but what lingered long after. Good’s family has often traded tales of furniture moving on its own and of conversations taking place in empty rooms.
A seance was held in the '70s, where the medium said she convinced Barker’s son, who died shooting it out beside his mother, to finally leave. But stubborn Ma Barker — the matriarch of the notorious bank-robbing and kidnapping gang — refused to be evicted.
In fact, the property is said to have become a favoured vacation spot for other dead mobsters, including Al Capone.
Good said the failing health of his mother, and family members scattered across the country, means it’s time to give it up. The starting price is $1 million, which even Ma. Barker — who always had big bills and never asked for change — would have found impressive.
But the die-hard history is attracting a lot of attention, said Mark Arnold, an agent with Stirling Sotherby’s International Realty, which is selling the home. “Everyone who walks in gets a different feeling,” he said. “It’s a time capsule. “You look at the crime scene photos then see the rooms with the furniture. It’s remarkable history.”
But Good, who never thought his family would let the property go, said they want someone who will see it as they always have — a remarkable home to stay in now. Though Ma Barker apparently still feels that way.