MC transfers Barker Mansion ownership to foundation; renovated site to reopen in fall


Press release and photos provided (click photos to enlarge)

Title to the Barker Mansion in Michigan City has been transferred from the City of Michigan City to The Barker Mansion LLC, a new, wholly owned subsidiary of The Barker Welfare Foundation.

“I am very grateful to Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry, General Counsel Amber Lapaich, the Michigan City Common Council and the Board of Public Works and Safety for approving this transfer,” said Alex Ross, president of the foundation and grandson of Catherine Barker Hickox.

“My grandparents donated the mansion to Michigan City in 1968 for use as a civic center, and the family is thankful for the many years of stewardship by the city. But it is now our responsibility to restore, maintain and operate the mansion.”

Barker Mansion is currently closed and undergoing a $2 million restoration project, funded by The Barker Welfare Foundation.

“We are working on projects from top to bottom, including rewiring the entire mansion, new fire and security systems, new HVAC systems, restoring the Bridal Suite and Mr. Barker’s Room, a new bluestone patio and tent for outdoor events, as well as restoring the garden to the original 1910 plan by the renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen,” Ross said.

The lower-level community meeting rooms are also being upgraded and new exhibits are planned as well, featuring a scale model of the Haskell Barker Car Company factory, which is being designed and fabricated by students and faculty from the Purdue NW College of Technology’s Department of Construction Science & Organizational Leadership.

Additional restoration work will continue over the next three years from January through March, during which time the mansion will be closed to the public. Patrons can expect a reopening celebration in April of each year.

The Barker Mansion is expected to reopen to the public in late fall for the popular Christmas season at the Mansion, featuring events and historical holiday displays.

The Barker Mansion is a historic home and living museum that seeks to preserve the history of the Barker family business and philanthropy in Michigan City through tours, exhibits, programs and events. The mansion is available for school, civic and cultural meetings, weddings and private events for Michigan City residents and visitors. For more information, visit 

4 Responses to “MC transfers Barker Mansion ownership to foundation; renovated site to reopen in fall”

  1. Lynn E. Lisarelli

    Jul 28. 2021

    What an interesting article! I am glad to see that the mansion will be taken care of properly. My father once taught there when it was home to Purdue North Central, and I remember seeing and being inside those gardens of yore.

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  2. Mike Stewart

    Aug 01. 2021

    Glad to hear the Mansion will be in good hands. I’ve always heard that John Barker had a tunnel that went underground from the mansion going to the Haskell & Barker plant a block west. Anyone know if that is indeed true and does it still exist?

    Reply to this comment
    • Anna

      Aug 01. 2021

      Hi Mike! Unfortunately, this is not the case. From what we can tell from the original blueprints, there was an electrical conduit that went from the house to the plant, but was not large enough for a person to get through. Come by and visit us in the spring 2022 when the factory exhibit opens and you can see more details in the 3D model!

      ~Curator Anna Weissman

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