Ma Barker house a step closer to becoming museum

Marion County’s famous “Ma Barker” house on Lake Weir, in Ocklawaha, is a step closer to becoming a museum. 

George Albright, Marion County’s Tax Collector said, “It’s very exciting.”

Albright grew up near the home.  It’s the site of a 1930s shootout with Ma Barker, her son, and the FBI. One of the longest shootouts in FBI history, actually.

Albright explained, “We’re not honoring gangsters. We’re honoring law enforcement and the 12 FBI agents that started the FBI.”

The land, he said,  was recently sold for $750,000. Just not the house itself.  Albright said, “Part of the deal was that the family that owns the house now, retained ownership so that they could donate the house, hopefully to the county.”

The plan is to move the house from where it stands, to a new area 800 feet down the block onto a plot of land owned by the Lake Weir Chamber of Commerce.

Albright said “The family is going to donate the house, and all the furniture, and the belongings inside, just as it sits now.”

Somebody, he’s not sure who, threw out the idea of moving the house to International Drive in Orlando, as an attraction.

“The family’s not going to have any part of that,” he explained. ”It makes for interesting reading, but that’s about all that it is.”

He expects it’ll cost nearly $100,000 to move the house and reset it. Some tax dollars may be part of it. Albright said he hopes the house will move by the end of 2016.