New Canaan Now & Then: Marshall L. Walker House


125 East Ave.

‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris.

In honor of Juneteenth, we are highlighting 125 East Avenue which was once owned by Marshall L. Walker, a Navy veteran and the former president of the local NAACP chapter. Mr. Walker and Nannie married in 1939 in the Community Baptist Church.  At first the couple lived in a house on Locust Ave, but it was a “cold water flat,” which meant that all hot water had to be heated on the stove.  When the couple heard that 125 East Avenue was up for sale, they tried to secure a bank loan, but they were denied.  Luckily they were able to secure funding from local resident Alice King, and in 1954 the Walkers bought the house.

Mr. Walker started his housekeeping business Walker and Walker in 1946. He was elected president of the NAACP on January 28, 1965. He also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for 15 years.   His wife, Nannie Walker, was originally the accountant and bookkeeper for the family business. Nannie was from Reston, Virginia and she arrived in New Canaan after she finished high school. She married Marshall after graduation.  Nannie was one of the founders of the Community Nursery School and a driver for the Red Cross Motor Services Corps.  She served on the boards of the Urban League and Family and Children’s Services. She was also co-editor with Terry Spring of the first newsletter for the local NAACP. Nannie was the head of the housekeeping department for the New Canaan Inn.  In 1978, she enrolled in a program for home nursing care and worked in the field until her own illness prevented her from doing so. In her obituary it is reported “her greatest contribution to the community was the friendship she gave generously to so many.”

The Walkers had four children and their son, Marshall Jr., was a particularly celebrated athlete and student. An article dated November 17, 1960 mentioned that his absence on the football field was missed due to an injury but that “he decorated the sidelines with a red jacket, Bermuda shorts with socks to match and a straw hat.” In 1961, Marshall Jr. was a participant in the American Field Service Program and went to Switzerland for the summer. He graduated from University of Connecticut in 1968 and received his masters in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis. Sadly, Marshall Jr. died in February 1973 after a lengthy illness at the age of 28. 

Nannie died of cancer on April 4, 1985 at the age of 67. Marshall Walker Sr. passed away in 2004. The Walker family continues to live in the house today.

One thought on “New Canaan Now & Then: Marshall L. Walker House

  1. Remember when the Walkers lived on the corner of Summer St and East Ave… didn’t really know Mr or Mrs Walker except for waving to them as I drove home when I was living on Summer St…was friends with Tommy when he lived there,and you could always hear him practicing on his guitar which he would always like to play…

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