Taylor Swift House Rhode Island: Every home has an underlying story to tell. However, not every home can sing, let alone an album that has the track featured that is on the No. number one album in the United States.
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The pop megastar Taylor Swift — whose “Lover Fest” was scheduled to play on Gillette Stadium this weekend before the coronavirus outbreak put an end to those plans she released her eighth studio album last week, with minimal fanfare and warning, calmly informing the world of her new album within hours of the album’s release. “Folklore,” which Swift claimed she composed and recorded in her own time, was more poetic than the pop songs and is a stripped-down symphony story. One of the stories concerns Holiday House, Swift’s vacation residence in the affluent Watch Hill, R.I. -and the previous owners.
“The Last Great American Dynasty” is a story about Rebekah Harkness, a wacky woman who was a wealthy widow and philanthropist. She was in the news with those in the Watch Hill elite from Holiday House years before Swift bought the house for the reported sum of $17.75 Million in cash in 2013.
With around 700 feet of beachfront, is private Swift’s seven-bedroom 11,000-square-foot home has played host to many star-studded summer events throughout the years featuring an impressive array of models, actors, and musicians who were there such as Emma Stone, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Serayah, Gigi Hadid, and numerous Jonas brothers.
Under Harkness’s supervision, it appears the house and the parties were bigger.
Born Rebekah West of St. Louis, Harkness lived her childhood at Watch Hill. She got married to William Hale Harkness, who was the heir to the Standard Oil fortune, in 1947. A year later, Swift says, “They picked out a home and called it ‘Holiday House’ / Their parties were tasteful if a little loud / The doctor had told him to settle down / It must have been her fault his heart gave out.” William passed away from an attack of the heart in 1954 and left the hilltop beach home to his wife.
In all the accounts, Harkness was a character. At the time in St. Louis, when she was called Betty West, she and her debutante pals were referred to by the name of “bitch pack,” which Swift describes in lyrical terms. They were “the kinds of things everyone else just talked about,” wrote Craig Unger in “Blue Blood,” a biographical work about Harkness. Once, she walked into the party by scaling the top of the building and then descending the chimney. She has once kicked off the ocean liner after shouting obscenities at the party, throwing food at the group, and swimming naked in the 1988 New York Times review of “Blue Blood.” An aspirant composer and musician, she was the one to ring J. D. Salinger’s doorbell in the disguise of an employee of a cleaning company in hopes of putting the author’s composition to music. She filled the fish tanks up with Scotch and goldfish, and as Swift suggests in the song, washed her pool with champagne.
In the Holiday House, Harkness was known as a famous host of parties hosting guests like Howard Hughes and Salvador Dali, According to the biography of Unger. Harkness expanded her home located on the bluff because Watch Hill was named until it was home to eight kitchens and 21 bathrooms.
Harkness used her wealth to support various ballet troupes and, in the 1960s, would take ballet dancers over from the city to Watch Hill for the summer. In 1966, she put an artificial blue geodesic dome on her lawn to allow the dancers to train under; angry residents sued Harkness, inciting the zoning limitations, which led to the crown being removed. Harkness was ordered to tear the dome down, as per the publication ” Watch Hill Through Time” by the Watch Hill Conservancy. Swift sings about all the conflict among Harkness with her neighboring neighbors through the chorus and sings: “There goes the maddest woman this town has ever seen / She had a marvelous time ruining everything.”
When Harkness went on to sell Holiday House in the 1970s, the property, which was 40 rooms, was growing to the extent that it had to be broken up into three parcels as per “Watch Hill Through Time.” The central lot, which contained the actual house, was now so big it needed to be cut down with the demolition of both sides given in the 1970s to members of the Wattles family. They changed the name to the property High Watch and kept a significantly lower profile.
Swift sings: Swift can be heard singing: “Fifty years is a long time / Holiday House sat quietly on that beach / Free of women with madness, their men and bad habits / And then it was bought by me.”
As Harkness, Swift made waves as she entered the exclusive area. The presence of her security guards reportedly upset the locals initially. Still, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2015 floated the idea, which she later backed off the idea of imposing a ” Taylor Swift tax” on second homes that are worth over $1 million.
Although other residents have a more positive view of Harkness Swift, it seems Swift has at the very least an affinity with Harkness and switches to the first singer in the last song: “Who knows, if I never showed up, what could’ve been / There goes the loudest woman this town has ever seen / I had a marvelous time ruining everything.”
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