The Barker Mansion is only in the state that it’s in now because of the love and care of its many employees and volunteers. It’s these workers that allow the mansion to keep it’s authentic look. Without them, the Barker Mansion wouldn’t be what it is today. One employee that has helped keep the mansion in top shape is Mary Kintzele. Today marks the final day Kintzele will be working at the mansion. To celebrate and remember her dedicated time here, she is giving one final tour (which will include her family), and a party is being thrown for her. The mayor of Michigan City also made today, Feb. 27th, Mary Kintzele Day.
Kintzele started working for the Barker Mansion in 1991. She has since worked for the mansion for the last 24 years. To help put that in perspective, I’m 22 years old which means Kintzele has been working for the mansion longer than I’ve been alive. 24 years is a long time to stay in one place. You might ask why would she want to stay for so long? The reason is simple. She loves the Barker Mansion.
I had the pleasure of joining a tour led by Kintzele. While on the tour, it became apparent how important she finds the mansion. She’s always excited to share and talk about the mansion to those on the tour. She even takes the time to talk about specific items within each room, letting tourists know what items are originals and so on. You might think she would become bored of talking about the same things for 24 years. However, when I joined her tour, she didn’t look bored at all. Kintzele puts her heart and soul into her tours. Why? Because she wants to make people appreciate the Barker Mansion as much as she does.
Continuing with Kintzele’s tours, the tour I had the opportunity to join saw Kintzele tell stories of the architecture and artifacts of the mansion. She didn’t simply read off bullet points or run down a list. Kintzele made the mansion feel alive by telling stories to make the tours more intriguing for visitors. She made it a journey through time rather than simply a slideshow.
Kintzele has truly been a vital part of the mansion these past 24 years. She’s given so much of her time to the mansion. She’s helped with a plethora of events including recently the Ice Cream Social and Vintage V-Day events. More outstanding, Kintzele has been a great influence on the number of children that have come through the mansion. She always speaks to the children on tours, hoping give them a better learning experience while also allowing them to have fun. Plus, many children, and sometimes adults, think Kintzele lives at the mansion.
Kintzele has been an amazing part of the workforce here at the Barker Mansion. For 24 years, she’s been a constant for the mansion, a symbol. She’s seen many people come and go here, but now we must watch her go. She says she will miss the mansion as a whole since it has become her second home these last 24 years. With that said, Kintzele is looking forward to continuing her life after retirement, after the mansion. Kintzele, and her love for the mansion, will be greatly missed here at the Barker Mansion. Though she may be moving on, her time here will never be forgotten.