A tour of this elaborate 1857 mansion brings to life turn-of-the-century Michigan City and reveals the wealth and extravagance of the Gilded Age when it was built.
Modeled after an English manor house, the home is filled with art and opulent décor that complement the story of John H. Barker, a railroad industrialist and philanthropist, who lived there with his family.
The Barker family did much to define the Midwest as a center of trade and commerce. The mansion, which Barker, wife Katherine, and daughter Catherine moved into in 1905 following a five-year restoration, honored the grace and beauty of the past while calling on progressive architecture and design. However, the couple died within a few years of the move, and daughter Catherine spent most of her adult life in New York, though she often brought her children to the mansion to show them where she once lived. In 1968, Catherine presented Barker Mansion to Michigan City to be used as a cultural and civic center in memory of her father.
Today, a 12-minute film introduces visitors to this showplace before a tour guide escorts you through three floors. The guide will fill you in on the mansion’s past and some Michigan City history. The home is furnished in luxurious early 1900s style with important furniture and art objects from New York collectors. It boasts hand-carved marble fireplaces and walnut-and-mahogany woodwork.
The mansion sits like a grand dame in Michigan City’s lively Uptown Arts District, home of shops, studios, boutiques, and restaurants. Today it also serves as a Civic Center, hosting special classes and activities, lectures and entertainment throughout the year, including Haunted Halloween tours in the fall and special Christmas at the Mansion tours and events in December.
Call or visit the website for tour, program and rental information for events or weddings.