Florida hideout of legendary gangster Ma Barker up for sale

Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:01am EDT
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By Barbara Liston

OCKLAWAHA, Florida (Reuters) - The lakefront Florida retreat where FBI agents gunned down gangland legend Ma Barker in 1935 is up for sale - bullet holes and all.

The two-story frame house in rural Ocklawaha, 62 miles northwest of Orlando, is the site of one of the most celebrated raids in FBI history and the suggested starting price on bids for it is $1 million.

There have been attempts to patch up and plaster over the bullet holes but Mark Arnold, an agent with Stirling Sotheby's International Realty, almost makes them sound like part of the attraction of the place.

"It's like walking into a time capsule in 1935. The fact that it has this extra history is a really interesting cachet," Arnold said.

He was referring to how Kate "Ma" Barker, who was branded Public Enemy No. 1 by the federal government for a rash of murders, kidnapping and robberies committed in the early 1930s, was killed in the house along with one of her sons in a fusillade from federal agents.

Photos released at the time, believed by some to have been staged, show Barker lying dead in a second-floor bedroom clutching a machine gun.

But the Barker story is the stuff of gangster legend and crime buffs may put a premium on a prime piece of criminal memorabilia.

The house is 2,016 square feet (187 sq meters) with four bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms. The sale includes 9.5 acres shaded by stands of old oak trees and 1.5 acres of sandy beach on Lake Weir.   Continued...

Stirling Sotherby's real estate advisor Mark Arnold stands in the second floor of the home that Kate "Ma" Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 in Ocklawaha, Florida August 18, 2012. REUTERS/Scott Audette