Topsmead State Forest

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Topsmead State Forest
Relief map USA Connecticut.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Connecticut
Location Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
Coordinates 41°44′49″N73°09′36″W / 41.74694°N 73.16000°W / 41.74694; -73.16000 Coordinates: 41°44′49″N73°09′36″W / 41.74694°N 73.16000°W / 41.74694; -73.16000
Area615 acres (249 ha) [1]
Established1972 [2]
Governing bodyConnecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Website Topsmead State Forest
Topsmead
TOPSMEAD, LITCHFIELD COUNTY, CT.jpg
Area511 acres (207 ha)
Built1924 (1924)
ArchitectDana, Richard Henry
Architectural styleTudor Revival, Colonial Revival
NRHP reference No. 93001243 [3]
Added to NRHPNovember 19, 1993

Topsmead State Forest is a Connecticut state forest located in the town of Litchfield. It was formerly the summer residence of Edith Morton Chase, daughter of Henry Sabin Chase, first president of the Chase Brass and Copper Company. She left the house and its grounds to the state of Connecticut on her death in 1972. [2] The estate house, built in 1929 to a design by RIchard Henry Dana, is a fine example of a Tudor Revival country estate house, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [3]

Contents

Setting

Topsmead State Forest consists of more than 600 acres (240 ha) of land in eastern Litchfield. It is bounded on the east by Buell Road, the west by Connecticut Route 254, and is crossed in its northern sections by East Litchfield Road and Connecticut Route 118. Most of the forest area consists of a hill rising to an elevation of 1,230 feet (370 m). The main park entrance is on Chase Road, off Buell Road. From the parking area on Chase Road, trails branch out through the forest holdings, a combination of open and wooded areas.

Near the center of the forest, and near the top of the hill, stands the former estate house of Edith Morton Chase. It is a large two-story structure, with stucco half-timbered walls in the Tudor Revival style. A central section is flanked by cross-gabled wings, with large westward projection that houses a great living room with a tall ceiling. The interior is decorated in 1920s style, and retains original fixtures and finishes. The area around the house is informally landscaped, continued the practice of Edith Morton Chase, for whom it was built. [4]

Recreational uses

The forest is open daily until sunset. In the warmer months the state sometimes offers tours of the estate house, which is otherwise closed to public access. The trails on the property support hiking and horse riding. Hunting is permitted, in season with the appropriate permits, in the forest area north of Route 118.

History

Creation of the forest began in 1916, when Henry Sabin Chase purchased 16 acres (6.5 ha) at the summit of the hill. Chase, owner of one of the most successful metalworking business in Waterbury, died in 1917. Chase's daughter Edith took over the property, and had a rustic cottage built on the summit soon afterward. The present estate house was built in 1924, incorporating elements of the cottage into its form. The house was designed by Richard Henry Dana, a New York City architect. Miss Chase occupied the property as a summer residence, and operated much of the surrounding property, which she purchased in stages, as a farm. [4] She bequeathed the property, then over 500 acres (200 ha) to the people of Connecticut upon her death in 1972, along with an endowment for its maintenance. The bulk of the forest was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

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References

  1. Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee (January 23, 2014). "State Parks and Forests: Funding" (PDF). Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. p. A-4. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Topsmead State Forest". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. 1 2 David Ransom (1992). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Topsmead". National Park Service. and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior