Bailey Stewart

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Audrey Stewart: Matriarch of the Market

[This is the first installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

Audrey Bailey Stewart had recently married Walter Stewart, Sr. when the young couple moved in with her husband’s parents—Walter Stewart, who had founded his eponymous food market on Main Street in 1907 and his rather formidable wife, Nellie, New Canaan’s first woman elected to the state legislature—at the Hoyt Street home that’s still in the family. A smart, strong-willed woman in her own right, Audrey didn’t always have an easy time living with the in-laws and “she didn’t always get along with Nellie,” family historian Karen Brockway Izzo said, recalling one funny story from her grandmother. “Once, Nellie told her that she didn’t like the color purple,” Izzo recalled. “Grandmother apparently had a bit of a rebellious streak, and after a disagreement, painted her entire apartment purple. Even the bathroom.”

After meeting her would-be husband through a chance encounter after taking in a movie at the (then relatively new) New Canaan Playhouse on Elm Street while still a teenager, Audrey Stewart would go on to immerse herself in one of the town’s most important and civic-minded business families. From humble beginnings and acquainted with tragedy even as a young girl, Audrey Stewart would go on to forge a definitive and direct positive impact on the family business during a crucial period of growth, while rearing and raising an entire generation of Stewarts well known to locals. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

For the first time ever, May Fair will open its rides to visitors on the Friday night of the weekend that the hugely popular event runs. “Friday Night Lights” will run from 5 to 9 p.m. on May 8—featuring just the rides, a performance stage and select food vendors Baskin-Robbins, Joe’s Pizza and Chicken Joe’s—and the full, cherished annual fair running about 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. the following day, said Richard DePatie, parish administrator at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. “We’ve been talking about it, off and on, for a number of years, and weather is a factor,” DePatie told NewCanaanite.com. He explained that in recent years, foul weather has caused organizers to hit pause on May Fair for periods of time on the selected Saturday, and that affects how much money can be raised (the fair benefits charities through the St. Continue Reading →

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