History of the Estate
Edward Stephen Harkness and his wife, Mary Harkness, were the beneficiaries of a fortune amassed by Mr. Harkness' father, Stephen V. Harkness, who was a silent partner of John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil Corporation. During their lifetimes, Mr & Mrs Harkness donated an estimated $200 million to to various charitable, cultural, educational, and health related organizations. In Connecticut, their generosity is reflected in buildings donated at Connecticut College, Yale University and Trinity College.
In 1950, Mrs. Harkness, at age 76, provided in her will for ongoing rehabilitation of the disabled. Upon her death, this estate was bequeathed to the people of the State of Connecticut and became a State park. In the 1980's, management of the property was divided between the Department of Environmental Protection, now DEEP, governing the grounds and mansion, and the the Department of Mental Retardation, now DDS, supervising Camp Harkness.
A Working Farm
Eolia was a self-sufficient working farm, including a herd of prize-winning Guernsey dairy cows. A dairy barn once stood in the maintenance area near Great Neck Road, but was lost to fire in the 1970's. The estate had an orchard which was restored with 'antique' varieties of apple trees by the Friends of Harkness. Produce from the floral & vegetable gardens and orchard was driven to the pantries of the Harkness' residence in New York City and Camp Harkness by a 1936 Model A Ford still on the estate.