Chase’s Wild Animal Farm, Egypt MA.

In the 1940’s Scituate was a popular shopping spot for my parents, Mom grocery shopped at the A&P and  maintained  their  meats were the best.

Across the street was an Italian delicatessen with wheels of the best cheese. Mom would buy a wedge of Romano for grating on her pasta— Oh how good my Mom’s pasta sauce was–Oh-Yes– My wife’s sauce is good too!
Welch’s Hardware Store was toward the northerly  end of Front St. where my Dad always found everything he needed.

Welch’s, Front St. Scituate MA.
A centrally located Movie House, ”The Satuit Playhouse” provided the weekly news and memorable movies like ”Lassie Come Home”, Dumbo, Bambi, Pinocchio, Snow White——- Alice in Wonderland—- those movies have touch me to this day.

The Satuit Playhouse looking down the ally from Front St.

Not far westerly out First Parish Rd. or  Beaver Dam Rd. and off Branch St. was the Thomas Lawson Estate, a campus including a fountain within a common, a church, school, a wood tower covering the town water tank, Lawson had done to cover the ugly steel tank.

The Lawson Tower.

Driving through this immense  estate was certainly a ”Dreamwold” , as Thomas Lawson named it.  Much of the estate could be observed from the public roads surrounding the compound.
This day in the late summer of 1941, to my surprise, my Dad turned off Branch St. onto a dirt road into the Lawson compound. There were barns connected by tall wooden fences with big doors between the barns.

The home and  map of Thomas Lawson’s ”Dreamwold Estate”

Massachusetts Egypt Dreamworld Thomas W Lawson Residence / HipPostcard

The buildings within the dots contained Bill Chases Farm.
The lower dots border Branch St.  Lawson’s estate ” the nest” is on the right. The upper left is the Egypt Railroad station. Race track to the right.

Noises of all sorts were coming from behind the fences, My Dad parked the car and said ”lets go”, Mom declined, I took his hand and  we went through a doorway in the fence.  OMG! ,the monkeys were going crazy— screaming and bouncing all over their cage– there must have been 50 of them—along with monkey noises were tropical birds–parrots— way more than I can remember!
A call from my Dad– Bill!—Bill! — you around? If Mr. Chase didn’t hear — I could understand.  A turn around the corner of the barn revealed Bill Chase, wild animal keeper, then the ”Hi Bill’s” , hand shaking and ”how the hell are ya’s”!

It was evident that the Bill’s knew each other for some time– I never did find out!
As they chatted–more like screaming  at each other–over the noises,
I tried to take it all in, rubbernecking in all directions!
As I settled down,and  looking off to cages with big cats, A THUNDERING -TRUMPETING-SCREAM – louder than a train whistle- sent me many feet into the air!!  I don’t remember if I saw the Earth’s curvature—-when I landed — both Bill’s were laughing—THAT WAS NOT FUNNY!
Mr Chase told Dad he didn’t have much time, he was meeting a client looking at a big cat.  We got to see the ”Big Cat” a Leopard, a rather tame Leopard, I was about three feet from it, and long enough to get my fill of smell !  In fact, the stay was long enough to not only smell,  but burn your eyes!   Being the summer of 1941, there was never another visit to this farm.
WW ll  saw to that!

”Bill” Chase, far right.  Location of photo unknown.This article was published in the BILLBOARD NEWSPAPER,  1955.


Halifax, Mass., July 30. 1955

Chase Wild Animal Farm a landmark in Egypt Massachusetts for 20 years, opened recently in this new location with three times the area and a bigger operation for plant and stock.
Zoning laws and the growing need for expansion has been a problem for years for Charles P. Chase, “Bill”. Last spring he found a spot on Route 106, Plymouth St. in this town.
Since space permits, many of the animals will be allowed to roam within the confines of natural settings. In Egypt they were confined to cages due to the limited space.

The Animals included are, Elephants, Zebras, many types of Deer,Leopards, Llama’s, various spices of Monkeys, Tropical birds & Waterfowl.

Chase has set the admission at 50¢ for adults & 25¢ for muppetts.

This classified ad was placed in the Billboard newspaper, August 14, 1943.

African Lion, $ 40,000.
African Leopard, $ 100,000.
Lima, $200.,Emu, $200., Paca, $20., Coopers Hawk, $75.
Wildcat, $25., Blue Fox, $25.
Hampster, $1., Parakeets, $ 5. @ pr.
Tame Ringtail Monkey, $500., Boa Constrictor, $4.00 @ foot.
Black Raccoons,$ 10., De-scented Skunks, $7.50.,
Otter, $50.
Chase Wild Animal Farm.

A pendant available from the new farm in Halifax.

More reading;

As I look back on my visits to Bill Chase’s Wild Animal Farm I was one lucky youngster, in spite of that Thundering Trumpeting Scream that scared me into space!

“WILD ANIMALS are less WILD and more human than many humans of this world” — Munia Khan.


A note from a Farm neighbor;

Andrea ,

Ray Freden i loved Chase wild animal farm. a Monkey got loose from there and got into my friends house on Country way. They came home from the store and walked in the kitchen to see this monkey tearing the kitchen apart. what a mess he made.


W. Ray Freden
Seaview, Marshfield MA, 70 years.
Pembroke, Maine, 15 years.

2 Replies to “Chase’s Wild Animal Farm, Egypt MA.”

  1. My family moved to Scituate in 1953 to a neighborhood carved from the old Lawson estate between Beaver Dam Rd and Lawson Rd. My Dad who summered in Scituate as a boy took me to Chases Wild Animal Farm; probably in the Spring/Summer of 1954. It was located near Lawson Pond where Lawson Rd made a right followed by a left jog on the way to Egypt Station. Wonderful piece to bring back my days growing up in Scituate. I went to see Davy Crockett in the Satuit Theater, shopping with my Mom at the A&P, and browsing Welsh’s. Remember the fire that burned Welsh’s.

    1. Thank you Jack. It’s nice to hear from someone else that experienced the same as I. The Front St. of Scituate in the 40’s & 50’s was such a great memory to have.

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