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. 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. 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. She adds, “As soon as I found out about her, I wanted to know everything I could. 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. 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 house sat empty on the beach until Taylor bought it in 2013 for an alleged all-cash deal of $17 million. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. 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. Rebekah was a beautiful, talented, divorcee originally from St. Louis, and her husband, William Hale Harkness, was heir to the Standard Oil fortune. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. The Holiday House was once owned by Rebekah Harkness The mansion was once owned by Rebekah Harkness, a high profile socialite who famously married into the Standard Oil fortune. 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. Harkness and her husband were owners of a waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Taylor Swift • Holiday House • Rebekah Harkness • Folklore Taylor Swift • The Last Great American Dynasty • Holiday House Rhode Island • Taylor Swift Socialite Calendar Guides Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called the Holiday House, that featured eight kitchens and 21 baths. In 1962 she turned her Rhode Island estate, Holiday House, into a summer dance camp for the entire Joffrey […] “I wonder if Taylor Swift might like to hear the story of … The lyrics go on to highlight some of Harkness’ more famous antics, which include cleaning her … And why would she write a song about her? But equally unapologetic as Swift. 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. Like Harkness, her arrival caused a stir. Oh, I learned about her as soon as I was being walked through [her former Rhode Island] home. Also known as Betty Harkness, the … Born Rebekah West in St. Louis, Harkness spent her childhood summers in Watch Hill. 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. What does this socialite and ballet enthusiast have to do with Swift? ", 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. And they'll go get a drink and skip it because it's the same every time," Swift joked to EW. Taylor Swift bought Holiday House for US$17 million in 2013. ", 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. Together, the pair resided in Rhode Island, in a home called "Holiday House" that Swift now owns. These continued after her husband's death, with guests including Andy Warhol, J.D. But equally unapologetic as Swift. 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. Swift explains it briefly in a verse—Harkness once owned Holiday House, the singer’s current Watch Hill, Rhode Island, home. She's got to tell you the story about how the ballerinas used 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. A misfit widow on the gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out. Married just seven years, Harkness inherited her husband’s vast … Salinger and Salvador Dali. 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. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. 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? Read on for the true story behind "The Last Great American Dynasty's" lyrics. Holiday House was owned by Rebekah Harkness, an eccentric patron of the arts and founder of the Harkness Ballet. The Holiday House was once owned by Rebekah Harkness. The widow went on to marry twice more, for a total of four marriages throughout her lifetime. She was briefly married to a photographer before marrying philanthropist William Hale Harkness, half-brother of Henry Flagler, in 1945. 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'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. 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. Everything you need to know about Rebekah West Harkness, the former owner of Taylor Swift's Watch Hill, Rhode Island, manse. ", "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.". After Rebekah Harkness died in 1982, ... “Fifty years is a long time/Holiday House sat quietly on that beach,” she adds. Every item on this page was carefully chosen by a Veranda editor. (Yes, the seaside mansion that was the … It’s based on a story about Rebekah West Pierce Harkness, known as Betty to her friends. In 2013, Swift bought the same home for $17 million and also named it her "Holiday House.” A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. Here's where Swift gets linked into the story. She just did whatever she wanted.”, 44 Very Merry Christmas Table Decorations, Ty Pennington Just Got His Own Show on HGTV, This Video Shows How to Wrap a Gift Without Tape. 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. Rebekah, who also founded her own ballet company, died of cancer in 1982. After their seven-year marriage (William died in 1954, from a heart attack), Harkness inherited Holiday House in Watch Hill, R.I. (above). She reportedly paid in cash. Taylor Swift Sings About Her Rhode Island Home, See Taylor Swift’s Insane Real Estate Portfolio, This Countryside Home Gets a Contemporary Update. And this isn’t a newfound interest on Swift’s part. Neighbors were concerned about fans and paparazzi. “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. 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. William Harkness bought Holiday House in 1948, a year after their marriage. 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. Rebekah Harkness spent much of the Standard Oil fortune she inherited on the ballet. Harkness' "Holiday House" in Watch Hill, Rhode Island was acquired in 2013 by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Holiday House is one of Taylor Swift’s many homes, and it encompasses 11,000 square feet and sits on 5.23 acres. 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 … 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. The Harknesses were married for a brief period—just seven years. https://www.popsugar.com/home/taylor-swift-rhode-island-home-history-47648844 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. She employed nine people in … Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. Since 2013, it has been owned by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. 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 imported from YouTube. The two purchased a mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which they nicknamed Holiday House. Salinger and Salvador Dali. An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. 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. An exiled man walking the bluffs of land that isn't his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. 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. Taylor Swift also compares her life to Rebekah Harkness whether it was about their lavish parties or to the harsh criticism they faced. 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. 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