The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. 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. 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. 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. Every item on this page was carefully chosen by a Veranda editor. She's got to tell you the story about how the ballerinas used to practice on the lawn.' Harkness and her husband were owners of a waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. “If you have a mixed group of people who've been there before and people who haven't, [the people who’ve been there] are like, 'Oh, she's going to do the tour. It was also, infuriatingly to the neighbors, a place for the Harkness Ballet dancers to practice on the lawn. Rebekah Harkness spent much of the Standard Oil fortune she inherited on the ballet. Holiday House was owned by Rebekah Harkness, an eccentric patron of the arts and founder of the Harkness Ballet. 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. 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. Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. 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. Salinger and Salvador Dali. 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. 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 widow went on to marry twice more, for a total of four marriages throughout her lifetime. [11], La villa "Holiday House" di Harkness a Watch Hill, Rhode Island, è stata acquisita nel 2013 dalla cantante Taylor Swift. I found her so interesting.”. Neighbors were concerned about fans and paparazzi. 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. Swift bought Harkness’s Rhode Island “Holiday House” in 2013. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Harkness' "Holiday House" in Watch Hill, Rhode Island was acquired in 2013 by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. "But for me, I'm telling the story with the same electric enthusiasm, because it's just endlessly entertaining to me that this fabulous woman lived there. 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. William Harkness bought Holiday House in 1948, a year after their marriage. 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. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. 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.'. 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). 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 … Indeed, the latter designed the $250,000 urn that her ashes were stored in after her death from cancer aged 67 in 1982. Not just going to performances, but sponsoring entire ballet companies, buying up real estate for them and sending them on world tours. (The flamboyant Mrs. Harkness reportedly entertained guests ranging from Salvador Dalí to B.K.S. 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. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. A misfit widow on the gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out. 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. 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? 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 … Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. Swift bought her "Holiday House" in 2013 for $17 million. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. This content is imported from YouTube. 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. 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. She employed nine people in … When did you first learn about Rebekah Harkness? And this isn’t a newfound interest on Swift’s part. 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. 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 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. William Harkness bought Holiday House in 1948, a year after their marriage. Married just seven years, Harkness inherited her husband’s vast … Taylor Swift bought Holiday House for US$17 million in 2013. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. 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). 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. Everything you need to know about Rebekah West Harkness, the former owner of Taylor Swift's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse. She inherited the house from her … 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. Rumor has it, the eccentric Harkness began to be pushed out of social circles not long after William Hale's death. But equally unapologetic as Swift. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. 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