Faith, Family and Fierce on the Court: Rose Kelley Karl

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

New Canaan’s Sara Schubert can remember walking through the woods as an 8-year-old girl to visit her grandmother, Rose Karl, at the Carter Street home that the family had built in 1926—the same year Rose’s own father, Henry Kelley, laid the cornerstone at the “new” New Canaan High School, now the police department. There, the woman whose leadership, wisdom and commitment to loved ones would make an indelible mark on an iconic New Canaan business and family, greeted young Sara with freshly baked cookies, milk and—characteristically—meaningful conversation. “I knew I wanted to be a school teacher, get married someday and have kids, and Grandma always told me that it should happen in that order,” Sara recalled on a recent afternoon. “She also told me to have a backup plan in case computers took over a teacher’s job, and this was back in the ‘70s. She was always so insightful, grounded and forward-thinking.”

One of 15 children born at the turn of the century to the prominent Kelley family of Carter Street, Rose would marry Leo Karl, Sr. at St.

Looking Back at Our Town: New Canaan in 1927

An estimated 200 residents filed into the Lamb Room at New Canaan Library on Monday night for a presentation led by contributing editor Terry Dinan, on New Canaan in 1927. New Canaan Library’s selection of “One Summer: America 1927” for a community-wide reading initiative will culminate this week with Wednesday’s speakeasy in the same Lamb Room and Saturday’s original play at the Powerhouse Theater. Terry, who writes the news site’s popular “0684-Old” local history feature, walked the crowd through a rapidly changing time in New Canaan’s history. The 1920’s saw New Canaan’s population jump by 40 percent, and important pieces of the town’s downtown and landscape took shape in the period. In 1927 itself, both Karl Chevrolet and New Canaan High School were founded, and the town marked locally much of what Bryson chronicled in his book, including Babe Ruth’s 60-home run feat and Charles Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight.