Barker Mansion to host free architecture lecture

Barker Mansion in Michigan City.

Barker Mansion's newest Heritage Interpreter, Lillie Magers-Pershing, will give a free architecture talk this week at the historical landmark in downtown Michigan City.

Magers-Pershing hails from South Bend, where she leads tours of the historic Oliver Mansion. She will give a 30-minute lecture on the architectural features of the Banker Mansion at 2 p.m. Saturday at 631 Washington Street in Michigan City. 

"Her talk will consist of photographic images, many historic, detailing the finer design elements of the mansion," Barker Mansion officials said in a press release. "After the program, guests are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the mansion for fee of $5 per youth/senior and $8 per adult. Reservations are not needed."

The museum was originally home to John Barker, a wealthy industrialist who founded the Haskell & Barker Car Co. railroad factory after settling in Michigan City.

His son, John H. Barker, inherited the company that produced 15,000 rail cars a day, implementing mass-production techniques long before Henry Ford's famed assembly line.

His wife Katherine Fitzgerald oversaw the 17-room expansion of the mansion in 1905, which grew to 38 rooms, 10 bathrooms and seven "stunning carved fireplaces."

Their daughter Catherine Barker sold the company to Pullman, moved to New York, and gave the mansion for Michigan City to use as a civic center.

A landmark of downtown Michigan City, it today hosts tours and special programs like lectures, author appearances, scavenger hunts, Blackout Tours around Halloween and its Glowing Lights Nights every Christmas season.

For more information, visit www.barkermansion.com or call 219-873-1520.