Born in Newport, Rhode Island, Chase became interested in landscape architecture at an early age after working on the grounds of several estates in the Newport area. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island State College in 1931 and then attended the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1933. Having finished his studies in the midst of the Great Depression, and without immediate job prospects, Chase headed to England to see firsthand many of the landscapes he had studied. From June to October 1933, he resided with the curator of the Kew Gardens in London, bicycling throughout England and Europe to visit historic gardens. After initially returning to Newport, he joined fellow landscape architect (and University of Massachusetts graduate) Bill Greene, in 1935, at the Connecticut Highway Department as a junior highway engineer working in the Division of Roadside Development. There Chase was soon charged with the design of the 38-mile-long Merritt Parkway, which opened in September 1940. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and known today as the “Gateway to New England,” the parkway would be his most celebrated project.
Chase left the Highway Department in 1942 to serve as the landscape architect for the Connecticut State Park and Forest Commission, retiring in 1972 as its assistant director. While with the commission he planned and improved many state parks, including Sherwood Island, Rocky Neck, Hammonasset Beach, Black Rock, and Gillette Castle State Park. He was a charter member of the Connecticut chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and he served as the chapter’s president in 1967. Chase died at Hartford Hospital near his home in Westfield, Connecticut, at the age of 94. He is buried at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Churchyard in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.