|Entrance to Topsmead State Forest in Litchfield on Buell Road|
Saturday, July 12th, POP will venture to Litchfield and take in the grand vision of Miss Edith Morton Chase.
Please attempt to carpool if you can. Parking may be limited. Be prepared to WALK to your painting spot, which may be a ways away from the parking lot. There is plenty of shade, and a zillion views to satisfy every painter: meadows, mature trees, a genuine English "cottage" in the Cotswold style, beautifully maintained flower plantings/planters. If you tire of painting, you are welcome to picnic and/or hike around the property. Families welcome. Restrooms available. There is no fee. Grounds open 8 a.m to sunset. House will be open to the public for tours 12-4. Group will break for lunch (bring your own) around noon. You may want to bring a blanket or stool to sit on. Definitely bring water, sunscreen and bug spray. Ellie Boyd
|Western facade of "Topsmead", summer home of Edith Morton Chase.|
Link to Photo Album
|From Route 8: take Exit 42. Go west on Route 118 for 2.0 miles. Turn left onto Clark Road to the stop sign. Take a right at the stop sign then the first left onto Buell Road. The first right off Buell is the entrance to Topsmead.|
|From Litchfield Center: take Route 118 east for 1.5 miles. Take a right onto East Litchfield Road. Take the first right onto Buell Road. Topsmead will be the first road on the right.|
Property History, from the DEEP Website:
|In 1917, Miss Chase received from her father approximately 16 acres on Jefferson Hill in Litchfield. Here she built a rustic cabin, which was replaced with a more substantial summer home in 1923. She hired noted architect Richard Henry Dana, Jr. to help her design and build the English Tudor style house which was completed in 1925. The exterior woodwork is of cypress, the downspouts are lead, the walls of brick and stucco, and the roof is slate. The interior woodwork is oak, as is most of the flooring. The foyer, hallway and dining room floors are of polished terra cotta tile. Most of the interior walls are of the same type of stucco as is found on the exterior. Fine craftsmanship, an eye for detail and understated wealth are evident throughout the house, which is tastefully and simply furnished with 17th and 18th century English country antiques.|
|Miss Chase loved the outdoors and as much care was given to the landscaping as was given to the design and furnishings of her home. Surrounding her home are plantings of holly, lilac, and juniper. Apple trees line the drive and formal gardens on each end of the house compliment the English Tudor architecture.|
|Edith Chase shared her summer home with her life-long companions, Mary and Lucy Burrall. The ladies spent the winter months at the Burrall sisters' home on Church Street in Waterbury. Because it was their dream to create a pocket of serenity, the ladies' lifestyle at "Topsmead" was relaxed. Guests were entertained informally.|
|Miss Chase was a clever businesswoman. She built up her financial inheritance and subsequently her real estate holdings. One of her most significant acquisitions was the 1927 purchase of the Buell Farm which was renamed Topsmead Farm to reflect its location at the "top of the meadow". The farm produced food used on the estate. In addition to vegetable and flower gardens there were beef cattle, poultry, sheep, pigs, and at one time, draft horses.|
|Upon her death in 1972, Edith Chase left her beloved country estate to the people of Connecticut and to be known as Topsmead State Forest. In her will, Miss Chase requested that Topsmead State Forest "be kept in a state of natural beauty". To ensure that Topsmead would remain undisturbed, Miss Chase left an endowment to be used toward maintaining and operating the buildings and grounds as they were upon her death.|
|Nestled in the Litchfield Hills, Topsmead State Forest remains a precious piece of an era past." |
The DEEP has exceeded expectations in maintaining this property and enhancing passive recreation uses.