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History of the Estate

Edward Steven Harkness and his wife Mary Stillman Harkness were the beneficiaries of a fortune amassed by Mr.
Harkness's father, who was a silent partner of John D. Rockerfeller in the Standard Oil Company.  During their
lifetimes, Mr. And Mrs. Harkness donated an estimated $200 million to various charitable, educational and
health-related organizations.  In Connecticut, their generosity resulted in buildings at Connecticut College, Yale
University and Trinity College.  In 1951, the estate was bequeathed to the people of the State of Connecticut.
Today, the estate is managed as a State Park by the Department of Environmental Protection.  The 42-room
Italianate mansion, designed by the New York architectural firm of Lord and Hewlett, was built in 1906 by
William and Jesse Stillman Taylor (sister of Mary Stillman Harkness).  Named "Eolia" after the island home of
Aeolus, god of the winds, the estate was purchased by Mr. And Mrs. Harkness in 1907.  Architect James Gamble
Rogers and his firm designed interior renovations, the Pergola and the Carriage House.  The Greenhouses were
designed by Lord and Burnham.  Eolia was one of six Harkness residences.
James Gamble Rogers' firm designed the layout and pathways of the west garden.  Between 1918 and 1929,
Beatrix Farrand created a new planting plan for the west garden and designed and installed the East Garden, the
Boxwood Parterre and the Alpine Rock Garden.  The garden design combines Mrs. Farrand's innovative use of
plant materials and textures with Mrs. Harkness' color preferences and extensive collection of Oriental garden

In 1999, Harkness Memorial State Park received the prestigious Millennium Medallion Award from the American
Society of Landscape Architects.