Friday, August 24, 2012

What $1M will get you in Ocklawaha, Florida

Looking for a little getaway place in Ocklawaha, Florida?

This unprepossessing place, on the shores of Lake Weir, is on the market.

The 2,016-square-foot, two-story home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Spread across 9½ acres, the estate includes 340 feet of waterfront on Lake Weir. Aside from updates to the kitchen, the home and its furnishings are unchanged [since] 1935. (Source: WSJ Online.)


It may not look like all that much. And that lack of updating since 1935 (January 16, 1935 to be precise) will certainly give pause to anyone who watches HGN regularly. (What, no en suite? No open floor plan?) As will, no doubt, the $1M minimum asking price.

But that’s a lot of acreage that could be developed, if and when central Florida real estate creeps back.

And, after all, you’re buying history here.

Because this cottage was the site of the 1935 shootout between Ma Barker and the remnants of her gang, and J. Edgar Hoover’s G-Men.

Ma Barker lost.

The house wasn’t Barker Gang property. It was a vacation rental by owner, the owner being Carson Bradford, who’d built the place in 1930. It’s been in the family all these years, but none of his descendants are interested in keeping/using the place. (The thought of vintage bathrooms – chain pull flush on the toilets, perhaps – and shrinky-dink little double beds with leaden mattresses on squeaky springs: ugh!)

Sotheby’s is handling the sale:

"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 Roger Soderstrom, a broker for Stirling Sotheby's. "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.'' (Source: UPI.)

Apparently, while the blood was cleaned up, there are still bullet scars. (Such fun!) So who wouldn’t want to stay at a B&B where a couple of America’s Most Wanted were taken down by G-Men with Tommy guns? (Didn’t they have tear gas in those days?)

And as for a wedding location…

Think of the fun themes: Men in 1930’s garb (including fedoras). Mini Tommy guns as favors. The mother of the bride could go as Ma Barker. Depression glass on the tables.

Maybe you could get all your guests to dress up as their favorite criminals. Bonnie and Clyde, anyone?

Maybe you could really get into the swing of things and register for 1930’s level wedding gifts. None of this Cuisinart nonsense. No $300 place settings. No 600 thread sheets.

You could sign up for an egg-beater. A linen tea-towel. A butter dish.

Or to keep in the Barker spirit – they were, after all, bank robbers – you could request all cash. As long as it was in small denomination, unmarked bills.

There’s actually some controversy about whether Ma Barker was really the tough broad, criminal mastermind that J. Edgar Hoover portrayed her as. Plenty of evidence points to her being just a plain old doting mom who happened to have raised a gang of criminals (all four of her sons were cons), and who liked to travel with her mama’s boys.

Anyway, bids are being accepted through Oct. 5.

Me, even if I actually wanted to have lakefront property in Ocklawaha, Florida, I would be taking a pass on this one.

A bit too eerie for my liking.

And $1M? Top of the world, Ma!

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