Friday, August 17, 2012

Ma Barker Shoot-out House for sale

I love when 'famous' criminal houses come up for sale.

The Florida house where infamous 1930s gang leader Ma Barker made her last stand against FBI agents is for sale. Carson Good, one of 10 remaining descendants of Carson Bradford, who built the house in 1930, said the family has decided to put the Ocklawaha house up for sale for the first time since it was built, the Orlando Sentinel reported today.

The house was the scene of the FBI gun battle that ended the lives of Kate "Ma" Barker and her son, Fred Barker. The sale includes FBI documents about the incident, which is regarded as the longest shootout in the history of the bureau.

Stirling Sotheby's International Realty, which is handling the sale, said offers are being accepted through Oct. 5.

The Orlando Sentinel comments on the marketing of this property. Be sure and read the large type! As if...

Sales brochures for this lakefront house near The Villages highlight the bullet holes — patched over in the dining-room and bedroom walls after what is regarded as the longest shootout in FBI history.
Marketing materials include FBI reports describing 1930s gangland criminal Ma Barker and one of her sons "lying lifeless in pools of blood." One black-and-white photo shows a cache of weapons reportedly taken from the house on Lake Weir.

The blood-hyped pitch is aimed at selling — for the first time — the Ocklawaha retreat known for the infamous 1935 melee in which about dozen federal agents surrounded the two-story, wood-frame house and fired more than 2,000 rounds during an entire morning. Inside were Ma Barker and one of her four sons, Fred Barker. It's a story that has been the subject of books and movies, with Shelley Winters playing Kate "Ma" Barker in the 1970 film "Bloody Mama."

For the first time since it was built by Miami entrepreneur Carson Bradford in 1930, the vacation home once described by the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover as the "scene of the battle" is being offered for sale by Bradford's descendants. Orlando resident Carson Good, one of 10 remaining family members, said that, with the death of some older relatives, it's time to put the house on the market.

"We really would like to see it go into the right hands," said Good, who oversees retail-capital markets in Florida for the commercial-real-estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle. "People have approached us over the years, but we never wanted to sell. We love the property."

The suggested starting price for the 10-acre property in southeast Marion County: $1 million. Offers are being accepted through Stirling Sotheby's International Realty through Oct. 5. Even if the property had no structures on it, the lakefront acreage might be worth $800,000, said Roger Soderstrom, broker for Heathrow-based Stirling Sotheby's.

"There's unbelievable interest around the world in crime memorabilia. People have never seen a property where everything is intact from the time of the event," said Soderstrom, who is overseeing the sale. "We think the buyer could be someone who has a passion for crime memorabilia and who wants to build their own house [on the property] and keep this as a collector's house. It could be a bed-and-breakfast. You could have weddings there.''

Aside from the home's well-preserved condition and period furnishings, including some original pieces, what sets this offering apart is the trove of related FBI documents that detail one of the highest-profile gangland shootouts of its era.

Ma Barker, leader of the Barker-Karpis gang, was labeled Public Enemy No. 1 by the federal government for a spree of murders, kidnappings and robberies throughout the Midwest in the early 1930s. After Barker rented the Ocklawaha house as a hide-out, federal agents learned of it when they found clues during a raid of the Chicago home of another son, Arthur "Doc" Barker, just a month before the siege.

A hand-drawn sketch from federal authorities shows an overview of the Central Florida house with the names and positions of the agents who surrounded it starting at 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 1935, armed with three machine guns, two rifles, two shotguns, gas canisters and other equipment, including bulletproof vests.

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