Come Visit Topsmead!
The "Secret Garden" of Connecticut State Parks & Forests
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. 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.