Miss Edith Morton Chase was the daughter of the first president of Chase Brass and Copper in Waterbury, Connecticut. At that time Waterbury was the brass capital of the world. Architect Richard Henry Dana, Jr. designed and build Miss Morton Chase’s English Tudor house. The house is taken straight from the English countryside. It was completed in 1925.
Edith Chase shared this summer home with her longtime friends Mary and Lucy Burrall. Topsmead means “top of the meadow”. The land became a farm that produced food for the estate. When Edith Chase died in 1972 she left her country summer home to the people of Connecticut and it became known as Topsmead State Forest. She also left a trust behind for maintenance and operation costs.
Inside Topspead’s Cottage
Walking up to the entrance transported me to England. I also felt as if I was stepping back in time. A beautiful door greeted me and out popped the volunteer tour guide.
Greeting me inside was a quaint little entryway and then a little salon with a fireplace. It looked like it was straight out of the book Hansel and Gretel. It was adorable. The tour guide gave us some information about the house and the history of the building materials. This included the beautiful terracotta tile floors. Also, each of the ceiling beams were hewn by hand.
From there we went into a great room/library which was one of my favorite rooms in the whole house. The high ceilings and rustic beams were beautiful. Another beautiful fireplace shaped out the room.
The Woman Behind Topsmead
Edith loved to read and that was definitely evident in this room. We saw her desk with the first type of “swivel chair”. The tour guide holds a portrait of her below.
We also went into her office, displaying a photograph of her and the two women that she lived with, Mary and Lucy Burrell. Edith sits on the far left.
Next up was the the butler’s pantry and kitchen. No refrigerator? Not a problem. An icebox kept food cold. An insert added later made it into a “refrigerator”. It’s the wooden cabinet closest to the door.
The stairs below are located inside the butler’s pantry. Take a closer look at that stove. It’s huge!
Off of the kitchen was the dining room. Surprise, surprise another fireplace. Homes with fireplaces are just so elegant. This tour did not include the upstairs. I do suggest heading to the website to make a tour reservation that includes the upstairs.
After the tour we walked out the back and admired all the flowers on the grounds. Everything is kept in incredibly good condition.
If you’re ever near Litchfield, Connecticut definitely take the time to go to Topsmead. Step back in time and visit England. You won’t regret it.