Harkness was indeed a divorcée who married William Hale Harkness, whose family founded the Standard Oil company. When did you first learn about Rebekah Harkness? “I wonder if Taylor Swift might like to hear the story of … This was the same house Swift purchased in 2013 for nearly $18 million, where she's hosted many a summer bash with model friends and big-screen beaus. It’s based on a story about Rebekah West Pierce Harkness, known as Betty to her friends. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. Holiday House is an 11,000 square feet (1,000 m ) home, sitting on five acres in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, built in 1930 for the Harkness family, heirs to Standard Oil. Learn the story of Rebekah Harkness, the subject of Taylor Swift's song "The Last Great American Dynasty," who once owned her home in Rhode Island. So then Rebekah married big-shot oil tycoon William Hale Harkness. Iyengar and her pet raccoon. (Yes, the seaside mansion that was the … Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. Swift explains it briefly in a verse—Harkness once owned Holiday House, the singer’s current Watch Hill, Rhode Island, home. The story of Rebekah Harkness is way more complicated than Taylor Swift lets on. And I tell them different anecdotes about each room, because I've done that much research on this house and this woman.” This should come as no surprise, given the numerous lyrics in the aforementioned song that fully disclose how eccentric Harkness was, including “Filled the pool with champagne and swam with the big names.” It’s true: Harkness allegedly cleaned the home’s pool using Dom Pérignon. But equally unapologetic as Swift. It's no surprise it was left abandoned upon Harkness's death until Swift began hosting the next generation of A-list parties set on the Atlantic Ocean in 2013. She adds, “As soon as I found out about her, I wanted to know everything I could. Holiday House was owned by Rebekah Harkness, an eccentric patron of the arts and founder of the Harkness Ballet. She's got to tell you the story about how the ballerinas used to practice on the lawn.' ", "Fifty years is a long time / Holiday House sat quietly on the beach free of women with madness, their men and bad habits / And then it was bought by me," Swift sings in "The Last Great American Dynasty.". In her day, Harkness was as much of a media darling as Swift is now, and often the target of unfavorable headlines and press coverage. Of course, some of Swift's friends know all too well about her home tours, given how often they must visit (see: her very Instagrammed Fourth of July parties at the house over the years). An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. Romance and heartbreak (and revenge) ballads make up the primary focus of most albums; however, her newest album, Folklore, which debuted today, features a song, titled "The Last Great American Dynasty," about a New England philanthropist and patron of the arts, Rebekah West Harkness. In 2013, Swift bought the same home for $17 million and also named it her "Holiday House.” ", Swift highlights many of Harkness's quirks and her larger-than-life persona—filling up her swimming pool with Dom Perignon and painting an angry neighbor's dog green (it was actually a cat)—and she's not the only one to become fascinated by Harkness. ", It’s not unusual to give a house tour to your friends and family when they visit for the first time—and it turns out Taylor Swift is no exception to that tradition. Harkness drew glares for her parties at Holiday House, as did Swift: Who could forget the frenzy over her celeb-studded Fourth of July bash? You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. Every item on this page was carefully chosen by a Veranda editor. The 11,000-square-foot mansion boasts seven bedrooms and nine baths. Holiday House is the name of Swift’s Watch Hill mansion. But equally unapologetic as Swift. Married just seven years, Harkness inherited her husband’s vast … Swift bought her "Holiday House" in 2013 for $17 million. It’s got … a lengthy semi-nonfictional track about Rebekah Harkness, a St. Louis–born debutante who married the heir to Standard Oil, bought a giant house in Rhode Island, lived a … So I started reading. In 2013, Taylor Swift bought Harkness’ former home — Holiday House — in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The mansion was once owned by Rebekah Harkness, a high profile socialite who famously married into the Standard Oil fortune. Her second husband died nine years later, leaving her a $27 million fortune (worth more than $250 million today), which she reportedly squandered with amazing speed. Since 2013, it has been owned by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. Harkness inherited her late husband's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse, which was known by friends, family, and distinguished celebrity guests—think Howard Hughes and Salvador Dalí—as the Holiday House. Rebekah married William Hale Harkness, the heir to the Standard Oil fortune. She was briefly married to a photographer before marrying philanthropist William Hale Harkness, half-brother of Henry Flagler, in 1945. The two purchased a mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which they nicknamed Holiday House. https://www.popsugar.com/home/taylor-swift-rhode-island-home-history-47648844 The lyrics go on to highlight some of Harkness’ more famous antics, which include cleaning her … Taylor Swift Sings About Her Rhode Island Home, See Taylor Swift’s Insane Real Estate Portfolio, This Countryside Home Gets a Contemporary Update. Salinger and Salvador Dali. William Harkness bought Holiday House in 1948, a year after their marriage. Veranda participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The song gives an overview of the life story of American socialite Rebekah Harkness, who was the previous owner of Swift’s Watch Hill, Rhode Island home.But while the famous “Holiday House” may have been in part the connection that drew Swift to write about Harkness, “[Harkness’s] saltbox house on the coast” is not where her story begins. The Harkness's Rhode Island home, Holiday House, became a hub for the social set in the town, as the couple threw raucous parties most weekends. While Swift’s Fourth of July soirees at the Holiday House have become the stuff of Instagram legend, they’re clearly nothing compared to what the previous lady of the house got up to. So then Rebekah married big-shot oil tycoon William Hale Harkness. 50 Fabulous Drinks Tables for Any Occasion, 40 Museums You Need to Visit in Your Lifetime, 30 Radiant Paint Colors for Your Dining Room, 13 Black-Owned Home Brands To Support Now. And what place better for the troupe to practice than at her summer home in Rhode Island? The Harknesses were married for a brief period—just seven years. A misfit widow on the gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out. The woman is Rebekah West Harkness, a famously wild heiress from St. Louis who once owned the Rhode Island coastal mansion that Swift purchased … Taylor Swift bought Holiday House for US$17 million in 2013. Read on for the true story behind "The Last Great American Dynasty's" lyrics. Rebekah was a beautiful, talented, divorcee originally from St. Louis, and her husband, William Hale Harkness, was heir to the Standard Oil fortune. They nicknamed the property as their "Holiday House." In her recent Disney+ film, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, Swift shared that she had been wanting to write a song about Harkness since 2013, the year she purchased the Watch Hill, Rhode Island house. An exiled man walking the bluffs of land that isn't his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. Like Harkness, her arrival caused a stir. Harkness inherited her late husband's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse, which was known by friends, family, and distinguished celebrity guests—think Howard Hughes and Salvador Dalí—as the Holiday House. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. [11], La villa "Holiday House" di Harkness a Watch Hill, Rhode Island, è stata acquisita nel 2013 dalla cantante Taylor Swift. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Rebekah was a beautiful, talented, divorcee originally from St. Louis, and her husband, William Hale Harkness, was heir to the Standard Oil fortune. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Dame Gladys Cooper's Most Stylish Moments, Our Exclusive Scarf Design with Lisa Fine, Joy of Design: Artist Fletcher Williams III, 25 Lessons in Effortless Style from Jane Birkin, The Beguiling History of Château de Chenonceau, 5 Pieces of Timeless Jewelry to Give This Year, Tanzanite and Turquoise for December Birthdays. It was also, infuriatingly to the neighbors, a place for the Harkness Ballet dancers to practice on the lawn. She first found out about Harkness through “the real estate agent who was walking us through the property,” according to her Entertainment Weekly interview. When asked how often she entertains friends with the history of Rebekah Harkness and Holiday House while spending time there, Swift revealed, “Anyone who's been there before knows that I do 'The Tour,' in quotes, where I show everyone through the house. Swift also shared that every single room of Holiday House “has a different anecdote about Rebekah Harkness.” Clearly, Swift is fascinated with the home's … In 2020, Swift wrote the song "The Last Great American Dynasty" for her eighth studio album Folklore (2020), in which she tells Harkness' life story. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Multiple newspaper articles chronicle the history of the Rhode Island mansion, nicknamed Holiday House: The Day, a local Connecticut paper, said Howard Hughes used to stop by. Taylor Swift also compares her life to Rebekah Harkness whether it was about their lavish parties or to the harsh criticism they faced. And this isn’t a newfound interest on Swift’s part. Born Rebekah West in St. Louis, Harkness spent her childhood summers in Watch Hill. Taylor Swift • Holiday House • Rebekah Harkness • Folklore Taylor Swift • The Last Great American Dynasty • Holiday House Rhode Island • Taylor Swift Socialite Calendar Guides The newlywed couple purchased the 40-room mansion in 1947 and called it ‘Holiday House’ where Rebekah entertained Salvador Dalí, her personal yogi B.K.S. It was also, infuriatingly to the neighbors, a place for the Harkness Ballet dancers to practice on the lawn. The character named Bill is in reference to Rebekah Harkness’s second husband, William Hale Harkness, who was in fact the heir to Standard Oil. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet.Her marriage to William Hale "Bill" Harkness, an attorney and heir to the Standard Oil fortune of William L. Harkness, made her one of the wealthiest women in America. Holiday House, part of which was torn down in the 1970s because it was so big, had 40 rooms and 21 bathrooms in Rebekah Harkness' day. Iyengar.) In The Last Great American Dynasty, Swift not only describes all of these antics, but also draws comparisons between herself and her home's former owner, singing, 'Holiday House sat quietly on that beach / Free of women with madness, their men and bad habits / And then it was bought by me.'. It was also, infuriatingly to the neighbors, a place for the Harkness Ballet dancers to practice on the lawn. Not just going to performances, but sponsoring entire ballet companies, buying up real estate for them and sending them on world tours. Of course, we would love to score an invite, but for now, we’ll just have to listen to her song that was inspired by both the home (known as Holiday House) and Harkness: “The Last Great American Dynasty.”. She inherited the house from her … After an attempt at making it big as a singer and releasing several albums, Harkness shifted her talents (read: wealth) to dance and established the Rebekah Harness Foundation, which sponsored various ballet companies and took them on tours around the world with the heiress at the helm. She most notably patronized the Robert Joffrey Ballet, which performed for John F. Kennedy at the White House (per his invitation) in a one-act, $135,000 production, before eventually establishing her own ballet company where she could have total control. Holiday House, part of which was torn down in the 1970s because it was so big, had 40 rooms and 21 bathrooms in Rebekah Harkness' day. It’s based on a story about Rebekah West Pierce Harkness, known as Betty to her friends. Taylor Swift bought Holiday House for US$17 million in 2013. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, See Inside This $160M Mansion Heading to Auction, Inside "Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square", Why You Need This All-Access Design Program, A Design Loving Non-Designer Hacks a High-End Reno, Inside Elvis Presley's Palm Springs Honeymoon Home, Gigi Hadid Reveals Her Daughter's Nursery Design, The History of the Home Where Vice Presidents Live. The 10-time Grammy winner originally learned about Rebekah - who died, age 67, from cancer in 1982 - after buying her 'Holiday House' mansion in Watch Hill, RI for $17M in 2013. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. When describing what inspired her eighth album, which she wrote in quarantine, Swift writes: "I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I've never met, people I've known, or those I wish I hadn't. Oh, I learned about her as soon as I was being walked through [her former Rhode Island] home. Harkness inherited her late husband's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse, which was known by friends, family, and distinguished celebrity guests—think Howard Hughes and Salvador Dalí—as the Holiday House. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Harkness and her husband were owners of a waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Rebekah married William Hale Harkness, the heir to the Standard Oil fortune. It's a biography about the socialite with the subtitle “She had everything—beauty, wealth, and glamour—until obsession, madness, and suicide destroyed it all. Yes, this is the house she sings about in "The Last Great American Dynasty! In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter revealed that she gives historical tours of her Rhode Island home to her inner circle, thanks to her extensive research on both the house itself and its former owner, socialite Rebekah Harkness. And why would she write a song about her? Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. The question Swift would have you ask is how much of this reputation was deserved and how much was the result of gossip or judgmental peers. After Rebekah Harkness died in 1982, ... “Fifty years is a long time/Holiday House sat quietly on that beach,” she adds. House Beautiful participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. The house sat empty on the beach until Taylor bought it in 2013 for an alleged all-cash deal of $17 million. Just like with Swift’s Cornelia Street rental apartment, this Rhode Island mansion has also been written and sung about on her most recent album; Folklore. Rebekah Harkness a tout perdu : sa dynastie, son patrimoine, ses enfants. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis is a home decor and culture writer based in New York. Well, as it turns out, long before Swift began throwing lavish, star studded (and, some neighbors might say, raucous) fourth of July bashes at her $17 million estate in Watch Hill, the property had already earned the nickname of “Holiday House” thanks to its former owner: Rebekah Harkness. Rebekah, who also founded her own ballet company, died of cancer in 1982. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. Holiday House is one of Taylor Swift’s many homes, and it encompasses 11,000 square feet and sits on 5.23 acres. She reportedly paid in cash. Indeed, the latter designed the $250,000 urn that her ashes were stored in after her death from cancer aged 67 in 1982. (The flamboyant Mrs. Harkness reportedly entertained guests ranging from Salvador Dalí to B.K.S. First, a brief biography: Born Rebekah Semple West in St. Louis in 1915, Harkness was a divorcée whose second marriage was to Standard Oil heir William Hale Harkness. The Harkness couple purchased a waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which the two nicknamed the "Holiday House." Just like with Swift’s Cornelia Street rental apartment, this Rhode Island mansion has also been written and sung about on her most recent album; Folklore. Holiday House was owned by Rebekah Harkness, an eccentric patron of the arts and founder of the Harkness Ballet. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet. [11], La villa "Holiday House" di Harkness a Watch Hill, Rhode Island, è stata acquisita nel 2013 dalla cantante Taylor Swift. Craig Unger authored Blue Blood in 1988, six years after Harkness's death (in which her remains were placed in a $250,000 urn designed by Dalí). The House That Inspired "The Great Gatsby" Is Hitting the Market, The Powerful Jewels of Catherine the Great, How To Make Your Favorite Summer Flowers Last Through Fall. The singer's beloved 1930s Cape Cod Traditional sits on five acres and has more than 700 feet of beachfront bliss. Rebekah Harkness spent much of the Standard Oil fortune she inherited on the ballet. Salinger and Salvador Dali. (He died of a heart attack in 1954.) "The Last Great American Dynasty" tells the story of Rebekah Harkness, the socialite who used to live in Swift's Rhode Island mansion. The woman who owned Holiday House for more than 30 years, from the 1950s until her death in 1982, was famous for her glamorous parties that brought in … Here, we … Inspired by the house's history and its former owner, Rebekah Harkness, Swift released a song titled "The Last Great American Dynasty" from her eighth studio album Folklore (2020). And they'll go get a drink and skip it because it's the same every time," Swift joked to EW. Folklore, Taylor Swift's latest album, is officially out, which means it's time to close-read the lyrics and find the hidden meaning. This is vastly different from Harkness's own design that included eight kitchens and 21 bathrooms, which rather effectively prevented her from having to run into her three children while they were in the house. Neighbors were concerned about fans and paparazzi. Rebekah Harkness inherited the vast Standard Oil fortune after her husband William Harkness died in 1953; the couple purchased the seaside mansion in 1947 as newlyweds and named it ‘Holiday House’ After her husband’s death, she remodeled the home to have 8 kitchens and 21 bathrooms so she could avoid seeing her children when she entertained guests like Salvador Dalí … Born Rebekah West in St. Louis, Harkness spent her childhood summers in Watch Hill. Swift bought Harkness’s Rhode Island “Holiday House” in 2013. The couple was married just seven years before William passed away of a heart attack, leaving the Harkness fortune and Holiday House to Rebekah. This content is imported from YouTube. Harkness' "Holiday House" in Watch Hill, Rhode Island was acquired in 2013 by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The woman who owned Holiday House for more than 30 years, from the 1950s until her death in 1982, was famous for her glamorous parties that brought in the likes of Salvador Dalí. This content is imported from YouTube. After their seven-year marriage (William died in 1954, from a heart attack), Harkness inherited Holiday House in Watch Hill, R.I. (above). Rumor has it, the eccentric Harkness began to be pushed out of social circles not long after William Hale's death. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. Here's where Swift gets linked into the story. “Free of women with madness, their men and bad habits/And then it … Rarely does singer and songstress Taylor Swift write songs about someone outside her immediate circle. I found her so interesting.”. In 1962 she turned her Rhode Island estate, Holiday House, into a summer dance camp for the entire Joffrey […] She employed nine people in … Harkness was born an heir to a banking fortune and grew up in St. Louis, then attended finishing school in South Carolina, where she pursued her passion for music and dance. Swift also shared that every single room of Holiday House “has a different anecdote about Rebekah Harkness.” Clearly, Swift is fascinated with the home's former owner, and we certainly can’t blame her—who else steals their neighbor’s cat (changed to "dog" in the song, given Swift's love for cats) and dyes its fur key lime green? Everything you need to know about Rebekah West Harkness, the former owner of Taylor Swift's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse. 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