The Day They Raided the Mob: What happened to the Apalachin mob bust house?

APALACHIN, N.Y. - NewsChannel 34 is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Apalachin mob bust.

On Thursday, we showed you how the raid unfolded.

Mike Tanzini sits down with a former owner of the home who says living there was like running a museum.

"Oh, you'll see it. You can't miss it, it's the only huge stone house at the top of the hill," said former owner of the famous home, Matt Burt.

It doesn't take long to find, just a few quick turns off of Route 434 and you arrive at the historical home of Joe Barbara Sr., the host of the Apalachin conference.

Long after nearly a hundred mobsters fled the property, it was home to Doug Burt, owner of Burt's Department Store in Endicott.

His son, Matt was attending Ithaca College at the time, but remembers feeling like the Barbara's were still there.

"Literally everybody who had lived there since the Barbara's, nobody had changed anything," said Burt.

Everything from the layout to the living room, kitchen and even the furnature.

"The floor was red and green linoleum tile and this bad faux-Italian furniture. It was like a stereotype. The only thing it didn't have was plastic covers on the furniture," said Burt.

Matt took over ownership in 1983 and started making some changes to make the home feel more like his own.

But making changes did not erase the history of what took place there.

He says visitors like friends and relatives would do their own digging around when they came by.

"I've had people over the years that would come visit and start knocking on walls looking for a secret closet that had all of the money in it. We used to hear that he killed someone and put him in the pond," said Burt.

And while Burt tried to make the space his own, he did take part in celebrating its history.

"It may have been the 45th anniversary of the bust. We had a gangster party. We had wanted posters of everyone. We had a huge picture Marlon Brando on the fire place. Man, you could practically stand in that  fireplace," said Burt.

Burt did enjoy having company, but there were times he had to play host to some curious, and uninvited visitors.

Burt says people would frequently pull up in their cars, get out and start inspecting the property like they owned the place. 

"It got to the point where I would give a big smile and wave and say 'Hi'. They'd say that they always heard about the house. I'd ask where they would live and say I'm going to bring my grill over to their house for a barbeque in your driveway how does that sound?" he said.

But he did get some higher profile visitors including a Barbara relative.

"Joe Barbara's daughter showed up and sat and had coffee with my sister. She'd say 'We used to sit here and my father would have card games here.'" said Burt.

Burt could never really escape the folklore of the house, even when he went on vacation in Honduras.

"I end up having a drink with the couple next door and they asked me where I lived and I said Apalachin, New York.  He goes 'Whoa! The Mafia House!"  He was an ex-New York City Cop.  I say "I got one better for ya,'" said Burt.

Burt still lives in the Southern Tier, but doesn't really frequent the old house, which is now a farm.

He says the bricks and mortar were hard to maintain, the memories of living in a historic house are cemented in his mind.

NewsChannel 34 reached out to the current owner of the home, who prefers to remain private.

When we arrived, the owner did let us get a few limited shots on the property, but nothing inside.

The owner discourages visitors from trespassing on his property.


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