History was moved Thursday morning when a crew in Marion County transported the Historic Ma Barker house by barge for preservation.
The owners of the property sold the house to developers who did not want the house, county commissioner Kathy Bryant said.
Residents felt preserving the home was important to the community and voted in September to have it funded through taxes, Marion County tax collector George Albright said.
It cost about $160,000 to move the house from its location in Lake Weir to Carney Island Recreation area, where the house will be restored and open to the public.
The next step is to find private funding to fix the house, Albright said.
The house is famous because of its heritage, Albright said. “It’s going to become a major tourist stop — once we reopen it as a story that tells the early history.”
The two-story green paneled house, located in the small Marion County town, served as hideout spot for the notorious criminals Ma Barker and her son Freddie. They were both killed in 1935 in the upstairs room during one of the longest FBI shootouts in history.
The property the house rested on was originally owned by Carson Bradford in 1892. His son, who lived in Miami, built the house in 1930. At the time he had no idea his home would be the place for such a historic event.
Barker and her son were hiding in the house after becoming being wanted by the FBI for crimes such as bank robberies, kidnappings and murders. Barker organized the crimes for her sons
Bradford first declined to rent out the house, which he used for family vacations, but was offered cash.
Today, patched bullet holes still decorate the walls and shell casings can still be found in the structure. During a metal detector search, the city also found Freddie Barker’s ring, City Commissioner Kathy Bryant said.
“It’s always been a quiet residence for the Carson Bradford family for almost 100 years,” Bryant said. “But for one day in 1935, it was a place where American history changed.”
Rachel Brown, a student at the College of Central Florida was there to witness the house float from one location to the other.
“I definitely just wanted to be a part of the historic event of it and witness something that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.