Possible derivations of Summit's name include its location atop the Second Watchung Mountain; the Summit Lodge, the house to which jurist James Kent moved in 1837 and which stands today at 50 Kent Place Boulevard; and to a local sawmill owner who granted passage to the Morris and Essex Railroad for a route to "the summit of the Short Hills".
Summit had the 16th-highest per capita income in the state as of the 2000 Census. According to Bloomberg, Summit ranked as the 70th highest-income place in the United States in 2017, 72nd in 2018 (with an average household income of $220,971), and 65th in 2019.
The region in which Summit is located was purchased from Native Americans on October 28, 1664. Summit's earliest European settlers came to the area around the year 1710. The original name of Summit was "Turkey Hill" to distinguish it from the area then known as "Turkey" (New Providence's original name until 1759). During the American Revolutionary War, Summit was known as "Beacon Hill", because bonfire beacons were lit on an eastern ridge in Summit to warn the New Jersey militiamen of approaching British troops.
Summit was called the "Heights over Springfield" during the late 18th century and most of the 19th century, and was considered a part of New Providence. During this period, Summit was part of Springfield Township, which eventually broke up into separate municipalities. Eventually, only Summit and New Providence remained joined.
Lord Chancellor James Kent, a Chancellor of New York State and author of Commentaries on American Law, retired to this area in 1837 in a house he called Summit Lodge (perhaps a namesake of the town) on what is now called Kent Place Boulevard. He lived there until 1847. Today, the lodge is part of a large mansion, at 50 Kent Place Boulevard, opposite Kent Place School.
In 1837, the Morris and Essex Railroad, which became the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad and is now NJ Transit's Morris and Essex Lines, was built over what was then called "The Summit" hill, a name later shortened to Summit. The railroad allowed Summit to outgrow neighboring New Providence, which didn't have a train station. In 1868, a hotel named "The Summit House" burned beside the railroad. In 1869, Summit and New Providence separated and the Summit area was incorporated as the "Township of Summit". In the late 19th century, the area began shifting from farmland to wealthy estates; in 1892, renowned architect C. Abbott French cleared away a crest of a "summit ridge", removing "an impenetrable tangle of wild vines ... and myriads of rattlesnakes," to build a house with a view of New York City, The Times Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The present-day incarnation of Summit, known formally as the City of Summit, was incorporated on April 11, 1899.
During this time, Summit was the home of America's "antivice crusader", Anthony Comstock, who moved there about 1880 and built a house in 1892 at 35 Beekman Road, where he died in 1915.
In the 19th century, Summit served as a nearby getaway spot for wealthy residents of New York City in search of fresh air. Weekenders or summer vacationers would reach Summit by train and relax at large hotels and smaller inns and guest houses. Calvary Episcopal Church was built in 1894–95; the New York Times called it a "handsome new house of worship".
Silk weaving, which had thrived as an industry in the late 19th century, declined in the early decades of the 20th. In 1915, there was a strike at the Summit Silk Company on Weaver Street. In the early 20th century, there was much building; in 1909, one report suggested at least 40 residences were being built (some with stables) with costs varying from $4,500 to $45,000, making it "one of the greatest periods of building activity this place, the Hill City, has known."
A new railway was constructed from what was then-called New Orange. The Rahway Valley Railroad connected Summit with the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W). In the early 20th century, both freight and passenger service were offered by this line. (Although in 2009, Union County was exploring the possibility of reactivating the long-dormant line for freight traffic.) A trolley line called the Morris County Traction Company, once ran a passenger trolley through Summit to/from Newark and Morris County, in the early part of the 20th century. Broad Street in Summit was designed and built for the trolley, which is why it is wider and straighter than most streets in the city. Portions of the rails could still be seen on it as late as the 1980s.
Union Plaza with Lackawanna Depot, c. 1940
View looking North across Lackawanna Railroad Bridge into Business Section, c.1940
Relations between city authorities and businesses have not always been smooth; in 1898, city authorities and the New York and New Jersey Telephone Company had disputes about wires and telephone poles; the city acted and "wires and cables of the company were cut from the poles." There were disputes between Summit's commuters and the Lackawanna railroad about walkways; in one incident in 1905, "a number of passengers seeking to board the 6:35 train found their way barred. They made a united rush, and when the dust cleared away, the door wasn't there. It is said the company will put the door back. The commuters say they will remove it as often as it is replaced."
Following World War II, the city experienced a great building boom, as living outside New York City and commuting to work became more common and the population of New Jersey grew. At this point, Summit took on its suburban character of tree lined streets and architect-designed houses that it is known for today.
In the late 1970s, Summit had a mini-bus system, with three long circular routes through most parts of Summit that were primarily designed to bring commuters to the railroad station downtown. The Velvet Underground played their first paid concert at a Summit High School prom.
More than a dozen Summit residents died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Many worked in the World Trade Center, and commuted by rail to Hoboken. A few days after the attacks, townspeople assembled on the town green while a minister "called out the names of a dozen residents still unaccounted for after Tuesday's attack on the World Trade Center. Others in the crowd of nearly 2,000 called out names he had left out." A few World Trade Center firms moved to Summit.
Summit has consistently ranked high in NJMonthly's biennial Top 100 Towns. In 2019, Summit was ranked the second best place to live.
In 2005, star baseball athlete Willie Wilson and former Summit graduate returned to Summit High School. Wilson said: "To me, Summit is a special place ... It's where it all began and I have great memories. This is where I want to help kids and youth baseball, and I want my own son and daughter to come and help me create something here." During the economic downturn of 2008–2009, Summit was listed as #6 on a list of American communities "likely to be pummeled by the economic crisis." Crime is generally not bad in the city; the summer 2010 assault of Abelino Mazariego-Torres during a robbery attempt gone awry shocked residents in what one person described as a "very small and very peaceful town." Several youths were charged in the murder.
Downtown Summit from the southeast
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 6.05 square miles (15.66 km2), including 5.99 square miles (15.52 km2) of land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) of water (0.84%). It is about 20 miles (32 km) west of Manhattan.
The city has long been popular with traders, investment bankers, and money managers, with nearly 20% of Summit's residents working in finance and real estate. One report said that Manhattan's financial elite prefers living in Summit because of large houses, great schools, and NJ Transit's rail link to Manhattan's financial district.
Of the 7,708 households, 39.6% had children under the age of 18; 60.6% were married couples living together; 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.4% were non-families. Of all households, 23.4% were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.29.
29.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.7 years. For every 100 females, the population had 96.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 92.0 males.
There were 7,897 households, of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.1% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.18.
Age distribution was 27.0% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $92,964, and the median income for a family was $117,053. Males had a median income of $85,625 versus $46,811 for females. The per capita income for the city was $62,598. About 2.5% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
Overlook Medical Center is on a hill above the town with views of the Manhattan skyline
Corporate residents of Summit include:
Celgene is a biotechnology company and the largest corporate tax-payer in Summit. Its facilities in the eastern part of Summit underwent recent expansion. It recently purchased a campus on the western part of Summit, formerly owned by Merck & Co. (formerly Schering Plough pharmaceuticals until a 2009 merger) these facilities were previously home to Novartis and, before that, Ciba.
Overlook Medical Center is located on a hill with views of the Manhattan skyline and is operated by the Atlantic Health System and features the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center and the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.
Hibernia Atlantic is headquartered in Summit and is a transatlantic submarine cable network provider.
Arts and culture
In the summer of 2021, the city supports musical artists performing downtown for diners with its Summit Street Sounds program. In photo: singer-songwriter and blues singer Alvin Madison performs.
An evening street performance by NXStage Music.
The Summit Opera House was built in the 1890s by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union as meeting place and dry entertainment hall. It currently houses Winberie's restaurant on the ground floor, and a church, office space, and apartments on the upper floors. It is located at Springfield Avenue and Kent Place Boulevard in downtown Summit.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, on Elm Street diagonally across from the Summit Middle School, is a professionally recognized regional art center with an art school and an exhibition program.
The city supports a program of public art organized by Summit Public Art, a volunteer-based city organization founded in 2002, whose mission is to bring art to public spaces throughout Summit. In 2019, the city was encouraging artists, including singer-songwriters, to perform at local venues in the downtown area, as part of its Summit Street Sounds program.
Parks and recreation
Summit Community Center
In 2019 the city finished the renovations of the expanded Summit Community Center. The renovated facility includes two gymnasiums, which allows indoor basketball for youth, a senior citizens lounge, a meeting room, administrative offices, a game room, and a small kitchen. There are two parking lots.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a suburban conservancy dedicated to environmental and horticultural education for children and adults and enjoyment of nature through the professional care and preservation of a historic country estate.
"Briant Park, owned by Union County, New Jersey and located in the City of Summit and Springfield Township, covers 30.3 acres (12.3 ha). It is bordered along its western side by Park Drive, along the east by Shunpike Road, and on the northern side by Briant Parkway and Morris Avenue. A brook cuts through the park, and the park is connected via a greenway to Hidden Valley Park in the southeast. There is a pond for ice-skating and fishing, some picnic areas, athletic fields, and a fitness trail."
"Hidden Valley Park, owned by Union County, New Jersey and located in the City of Summit and Springfield Township. The park contains 70.4 acres (28.5 ha) of basically undeveloped land that is connected via a greenway along Orchard Street to Briant Park. Hidden Valley Park is bordered along its southern edge by Interstate 78 and along the west by the residential neighborhoods along Baltusrol Road and Morris Avenue." Its eastern border is adjacent to the now-closed Houdaille Quarry which is now parkland owned by the county.
Passaic River Parkway, owned by Union County, New Jersey, is actually six small park areas along the Passaic River in western Union County (Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights). These areas are undeveloped with no facilities, and covers a total of 133.4 acres (54.0 ha). Area #1 in Summit and New Providence is located between Route 124 and the railroad tracks. The northern area of the park bordered by Morris County, and the southern area is bordered by River Road in Summit."
The Summit Park Line, a 1.2-mile rail trail along a segment of the abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad was approved for construction in December 2020. The trail is to connect Morris Avenue and Briant Park. Later extensions along the Staten Island Rapid Transit line could connect to the Arthur Kill in Linden and provide a greenway to connect several county parks, akin to the High Line. The Summit city council applied for a $1 million grant toward the project in November 2016. A nonprofit organization called the Summit Park Line Foundation is also working on the project.
City Hall at the intersection of Springfield Avenue and Morris Avenue has the city's police station, municipal court, municipal departments, and other offices
Summit operates under the city form of municipal government; 15 of the state's 565 municipalities use this form. On April 11, 1899, Summit voters adopted as the Charter of the City of Summit the Statute of 1899 applicable to cities of less than 12,000 population. On December 15, 1987, the New Jersey Legislature enacted a law that repealed the original charter, retaining those sections not covered by general law that were specific to Summit. The charter now specifies that "1: The council may, by referendum, change the term of the councilman at large from a two year term to a four year term. 2: Resolutions adopted by the council do not have to be approved by the mayor. 3: The council pro tempore shall be the acting mayor in the mayor's absence due to sickness or other cause. 4: The municipality may appoint an administrator in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S. 40A:9-136. 5: The municipality may adopt an administrative code."
Members of the City Council are elected periodically and are unpaid volunteers.
The mayor is elected by the city for a four-year term and is the city's official spokesman and chief elected official. The mayor can appoint various officials, including the chief of police and the board of education. The mayor serves as the chairman of the Board of School Estimate and on various committees, and has the right to speak at common council meetings, but can only vote to break ties in the council. This bully pulpit role is considered the mayor's strongest power.
The city sponsors free outdoor concerts during summer months
The common council has the chief policy making and administrative oversight role in city government. The council approves all laws and adopts the city budget. The council also oversees the work of city department heads. The council is comprised of three members from Ward I and three members from Ward II plus one member elected at-large. The at-large member serves a two-year term of office, while the six ward members serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with one seat in each ward up for election each year. The council elects from its membership a president and a president pro tem, each serving a one-year term. The president presides at all council meetings, and the president pro tem presides in the president's absence. The president pro tem also serves as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor.
As of 2021[update], the mayor of Summit is Democrat Nora G. Radest, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. Members of the common council are Council President Marjorie Fox (D, 2023; Second Ward), President Pro Tem Beth Little (D, 2021; At Large), Lisa Allen (R, 2021; appointed to serve an unexpired term in the Second Ward), Susan D. Hairston (D, 2023; First Ward), B. David Naidu (D, 2021; First Ward), Danny O'Sullivan (D, 2022; First Ward) and Gregory S. Vartan III (D, 2021; Second Ward).
Summit had been a stronghold of the Republican Party for years. From 1921 to 2001 no Democrats served in elected office and very few ran for office. The real elections occurred in the Republican primary. In 2001, two Democratic candidates were elected to council: Michel Bitritto won in Ward I and Jordan Glatt won the at-large seat. Summit had never elected a Democrat as mayor until 2003, when Jordan Glatt was elected.
In November 2011, Republicans swept all the open seats, with Ellen Dickson elected mayor and Gregory Drummond, Patrick Hurley and Robert Rubino sweeping the three council seats, giving full control of city government back to the Republican party.
Democrats began making inroads in the ensuing years, with the election of Nora Radest, a Democrat, for mayor in 2015, along with two Democratic council members (David Naidu and Richard Sun, who was the youngest-ever elected city official at the age of 24). In November 2018, for the first time in Summit's history, Democrats were elected to hold the majority of seats on council.
In November 2019, Susan Hairston was sworn in to the First Ward seat expiring in December 2020 that became vacant following the death of Matthew Gould. In 2020, she was elected to the same seat, becoming the first African-American council member in city history.
Michael F. Rogers is the city administrator of Summit. In this role, he directs day-to-day operations of city government and the city departments.
The Department of Community Services is responsible for engineering, public works, and code administration. The engineering division manages city infrastructure such as roads, curbs, sewers, and provide support to the planning and zoning boards. Public works maintains streets, trees, traffic signs, public parks, traffic islands, playgrounds, public buildings, support vehicles, equipment, and has other responsibilities. The city runs a municipal disposal area or solid waste transfer station where recyclables are collected, including bulky trash; residents must have a town-generated sticker on their cars to use this facility. Trash is picked up from garbage cans once a week for most residents, and recycling materials are picked up every two weeks. Certain trees need permits before being removed. Summit plows 66 miles (106 km) of roads, covering all city streets, except for county roads. Residents are asked to put leaves in biodegradable bags for pickup on selected times during autumn and spring. Recently the city has embarked on a program of "Bringing Art to Public Spaces in Summit"; this program, established in 2002, has placed sculptures at different venues around the town and is supported by private donations. The Summit Chamber of Commerce advertises the town on cable television.
In 2018, the city had an average property tax bill of $17,919, the highest in the county, compared to an average bill of $8,767 statewide.
Federal, state and county representation
Summit is located in the 7th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 21st state legislative district.
Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members. As of 2019[update], Union County's Freeholders are Chair Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, term ends December 31, 2019), Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2021)
Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2020),
Angela R. Garretson (D, Hillside Township, 2020),
Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2019),
Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2020),
Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded (D, Westfield, 2021),
Andrea Staten (D, Roselle, 2021),
Rebecca Williams (D, Plainfield, 2019). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2020),
Sheriff Peter Corvelli (D, Kenilworth, 2020) and
Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2019). The County Manager is Edward Oatman.
As of March 21, 2021, there were a total of 16,171 registered voters in Summit, of which 6,048 (37.4% vs. 49.6% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 4,014 (24.8% vs. 15.8%) were registered as Republicans and 6,109 (37.7% vs. 34.5%) were registered as Unaffiliated. Among the city's 2020 Census population, 68.6% (vs. 58.9% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 94.9% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 77% countywide).
In the 2020 Presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden received 8,500 votes (67.2% vs. 62.8% countywide) ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 3,846 votes (30.4% vs. 35.5% countywide). In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 5,776 votes (60.3% vs. 65.9% countywide) ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 3,210 votes (33.5% vs.30.5% countywide) and other candidates with 421 votes (4.4% vs. 3.6% countywide). In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 4,895 votes (49.4% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 4,859 votes (49.1% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 109 votes (1.1% vs. 0.8%), among the 9,899 ballots cast by the city's 14,330 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.1% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 5,820 votes (54.5% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 4,700 votes (44.0% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 88 votes (0.8% vs. 0.9%), among the 10,677 ballots cast by the city's 13,690 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.0% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 5,183 votes (50.0% vs. 40.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 5,068 votes (48.9% vs. 58.3%) and other candidates with 75 votes (0.7% vs. 0.7%), among the 10,360 ballots cast by the city's 13,159 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.7% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Democrat Phil Murphy received 57.2% of the vote (3,495 votes) ahead of Republican Kim Guadagno with 41.2% (2,520 votes) and other candidates with 1.6% (99 votes) among the 6,114 total votes cast by the city's 15,131 registered voters for a turnout of 40.4%. In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 68.1% of the vote (3,971 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 30.6% (1,785 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (76 votes), among the 5,928 ballots cast by the city's 14,076 registered voters (96 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 42.1%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine was defeated in his hometown when Republican Chris Christie received 3,682 votes (50.3% vs. 41.7% countywide), ahead his 3,014 votes (41.2% vs. 50.6%), Independent Chris Daggett with 543 votes (7.4% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 43 votes (0.6% vs. 0.8%), among the 7,323 ballots cast by the city's 13,435 registered voters, yielding a 54.5% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
Jefferson School, one of Summit's five elementary schools
The district's board of education is comprised of seven members who set policy and oversee the fiscal and educational operation of the district through its administration. As a Type I school district, the board's trustees are appointed by the Mayor to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three members up for reappointment each year. Of the more than 600 school districts statewide, Summit is one of 15 districts with appointed school districts. The board appoints a superintendent to oversee the day-to-day operation of the district.
St. Teresa of Avila School (K-8), operated by the Archdiocese of Newark
HudsonWay Immersion School (NS-5), Mandarin Chinese and Spanish immersion program
Summit's Family Aquatic Center has a water slide, an Olympic-sized outdoor pool, and the youth swim team is called the Summit Sharks
Summit has sports programs for youth including basketball, baseball, soccer, and football leagues through the Recreation Center. In addition, the YMCA organizes sports clinics and teams including the Summit Area YMCA "Seals" Swim Team. At age eight, children can try out for a traveling soccer program called the Summit Soccer Club, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of youth soccer in the city. Travel soccer runs for both the fall and spring seasons.
Lacrosse is a popular sport with high school teams achieving distinction at state and national levels. Summit holds the third most NJSIAA Boys Group Titles. Since the Tournament of Champions (TOC) began in 2004, Summit has made the tournament 11 times. Summit has the fourth-most championship titles (2) and has finished runner-up four times. Prior to the new championship format, Summit was crowned champion twice with one runner-up finish.Summit High School boys' team won the state's Tournament of Champions in 2010 and 2009 and lost by one goal in the 2011 final. Summit holds the New Jersey state (and possibly national) high school record with 68 consecutive victories during 2009 to 2011. The 2012 team was ranked second in New Jersey in May 2012 and in the top 20 nationally. Beginning in first grade, boys and girls can learn to play lacrosse in clinics and teams organized by the Summit Lacrosse Club. Many Division 1 lacrosse players have come from Summit, either through Summit High School, or via private schools.
Real estate and housing
View of houses after a snowfall
Summit residential real estate is among the most expensive in the state. The 2018 median home price was $987,583. Real estate taxes vary; an $800,000 four-bedroom, 2-full-bath, 2-partial-bath single-family home built in 1939 had taxes of $16,000 in 2009. As of 2018, the average property tax bill in the city of Summit was $17,930, the 14th highest in the state.
Summit, along with many suburban communities in the United States, adopted a policy of zoning ordinances requiring a single-family house on a large lot and could thereby "exclude any undesirable influences that might erode property values", a requirement that effectively excluded apartment buildings and multi-family dwellings, and tended to raise the price of houses. One study found that since 1945, the single-family house on a large lot zoning mechanism "has been increasingly used in suburban and rural areas to safeguard particular vested interests." A reporter from The New York Times who is a Summit resident criticized the city for being an "economically, racially and ideologically homogenized populace" with "a growing divide between Summit's haves and have-nots." He elaborated in 2006: "there's an ever-diminishing corner of the city akin to the so-called slums of Beverly Hills, where middle-income homeowners like me can take advantage of the schools and services of Summit without the million-dollar price tags so ubiquitous on the other side of the Midtown Direct tracks." But he preferred the city as a place to raise and educate his children. One developer sued the city in 2005 to comply with New Jersey's Fair Housing Act to provide more affordable housing units. The city is working on a "housing master plan" to avoid future lawsuits from developers. In 2011, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, in conjunction with church groups including St. Teresa of Avila and the Unitarian Church led by Vanessa Southern, constructed affordable housing on Morris Avenue.
The Summit Diner at the corner of Summit Avenue and Union Place
Horse trough (center left) in winter
Summit Public Library in 2009, looking west, across Maple Street
The Summit Downtown Historic District is on the United States Department of Interior National Register of Historic Places.
The Carter House - at 90 Butler Parkway, Summit's oldest known structure, built in 1741, now home to the Summit Historical Society.
The DeBary Inn was built in 1880 as one of the private residences of (Samuel) Frederick De Bary, a merchant of French wines, liquors, and other imported beverages. In 1916, the land was subdivided and sold, the house was moved 200 feet (61 m), and it opened as a hotel in 1923; later it housed senior citizens. Authorities and rules stymied an effort to turn it into a bed and breakfast in the early 2000s, and at present it serves as an "executive boutique inn" partially owned by CNBC host Jim Cramer.
Vanderpoel Castle was a large residence built by George Vanderpoel in 1885. It was located on a 15-acre estate adjacent to Vanderpoel pond on what is now the Summit Municipal Golf Course, near the intersection of River Road, Route 24 and JFK Parkway. Later divided into apartments, it was demolished in 1969.
The Grand Summit Hotel (formerly The Summit Suburban Hotel) hosts a variety of events, including stockholder meetings.
The Kent Place School occupies a large block bordered by Kent Place Boulevard, Norwood Avenue, and Morris Avenue near downtown Summit. Its Mabie House was built in 1931.
The Summit Diner, located on the corner of Union Place & Summit Avenue, is a 1938 O'Mahony diner that has wood paneled walls, eight booths and 20 stools. It is said to be the oldest operating diner in the state.
Summit Free Public Library offers a wide range of books, CDs, DVDs, internet access, special programs, and is located at the corner of Maple Street and Morris Avenue.
Twin Maples is a registered Historic Place at Springfield Avenue and Edgewood Road. Constructed in 1908 based on a design by architect Alfred F. Norris, it is home to the Summit Fortnightly Club and the Junior Fortnightly.
As of May 2010[update], the city had a total of 84.80 miles (136.47 km) of roadways, of which 66.94 miles (107.73 km) were maintained by the municipality, 14.72 miles (23.69 km) by Union County and 3.14 miles (5.05 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Parking is an ongoing issue. There are several free two-hour-limit parking lots for shoppers, as well as metered parking on main streets. The city council has conducted studies to explore further parking options.
Locally, Summit is served by the Summit Herald-Dispatch and the Independent Press, the latter of which is based in New Providence and serves the City of Summit and several surrounding communities. Both newspapers are published on a weekly basis. Summit is also served by the online news source, The Alternative Press
Summit is home to HomeTowne Television (HTTV), a cable television station providing public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable TV programming. HTTV's signal reaches municipalities in Union, Essex and Morris counties via Verizon channel 33 and Comcast channel 36. The station produces original content weekly and provides live streaming from hometownetv.org. The station is run by station manager, Amanda Olsen.
In popular culture
In "Mr. Monk and the End", the series finale of the cable TV show Monk, the fictional character of Randy Disher reveals he is leaving San Francisco because he has been offered the job as the chief of police of Summit, New Jersey. He is also going there to marry his longtime crush, Sharona Fleming. Following this up, in the 2012 novel Mr. Monk on Patrol, Randy has to bring Monk in after a corruption scandal sweeps the Summit government, leading to Randy becoming acting mayor.
Marshall Curry (born c. 1970), two-time Academy Award-nominated American documentary director, producer, cinematographer and editor of such films as Street Fight about the 2002 Newark mayoral election.
Ice-T (born 1958 as Tracy Lauren Marrow), rapper / actor who lived in Summit and attended Brayton Elementary School and Summit Junior High School (now Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School), both part of Summit Public Schools.
Other Fellow First Foundation. Headquartered at the Summit Diner since its founding in 2000, the Other Fellow First Foundation uses its small endowment to quickly aid New Jersey families in distress. It has raised and given away more than $6,000,000 to individuals and local non-profit organizations. They run a yearly "Frozen Turkey Drive" and have raised money for SAGE Eldercare's Meals on Wheels program, the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad's new building, and other causes.
GRACE. Founded in 2016 by the Junior League of Summit with The Connection and The United Way, GRACE (Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community's Essentials) give food and basic necessities to local families in need. Until 2020, the all-volunteer program supported the weekly needs of about 100 local families; the pandemic pushed that number to more than 500. In 2020, GRACE achieved 501c(3) status and became a part of the City's Department of Community Programs. GRACE is headquartered at Cornog Field House at Soldier's Memorial Field in Summit.
Bridges Outreach. Founded in 1988, Bridges Outreach in 2020 delivered 65,000 brown bag meals, 10,000 pairs of underwear and socks, 7,500 toiletry kits, 49,000 cups of soup, and other clothing to more than 21,000 people in New York City, Newark, Irvington, and Summit every year.
SHIP (Summit Helping Its People). Founded in 1990 by the Summit Interfaith Clergy Fellowship and supported solely by donations, SHIP serves more than 15,000 lunch and dinner meals each year to homeless and at-risk homeless people not served by other local programs.
^ abCheslow, Jerry. "A Transit Hub With a Thriving Downtown", The New York Times, July 13, 1997. Accessed April 27, 2012. "The name 'Summit' may have been coined by James Kent, retired Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, New York State's highest judicial office, who bought a house on the hill in 1837 and named it Summit Lodge is today located at 50 Kent Place Boulevard. Another version of the way Summit got its name is that, around the same time, a sawmill owner named James Bonnell gave the Morris & Essex Railroad free right-of-way across his property, on condition that its track would pass near his sawmill. The company bought a special locomotive to pull the railroad cars up to what it called the summit of the Short Hills."
^AboutArchived 2013-06-03 at the Wayback Machine, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Accessed May 23, 2013. "The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is the state's largest institution dedicated exclusively to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art."
^Faszczewski, Bob. "Summit Council Applies for $1 Million Grant Toward Park Line Project; Parking 'Holidays' for Thanksgiving Weekend, December Approved", TAPintoSummit, November 3, 2016. Accessed January 3, 2017. "The Summit Common Council, at its first meeting of November, authorized application for a maximum $1 million federal grant that the majority of Council members feel will kick start the proposed Summit Park Line project, and bring needed sidewalks to sections of Broad Street and Morris Avenue in East Summit.... As envisioned by the Summit Park Line Foundation, which is collecting private funding to pay for the project, the Park Line will convert an abandoned rail line right-of-way stretching from Briant Park through the central business district to a public park, walkways and nature areas while offering a view of the Manhattan skyline."
^City Charter, City of Summit. Accessed January 14, 2018. "On December 15, 1987, Chapter 314, Public Law 1987, was approved and signed into law with the effective date of January 1, 1988. This act repealed all of the remaining provisions of Summit's original Charter (P.L. 1899,c.52;C.40:109-3) and replaced and saved those sections which were not covered by general law and peculiar to Summit's original Charter."
^Kurlander, Karen Ann. "Hairston Sworn In as Summit Council Passes Single-Use Plastic Restrictions Along Party Lines", TAP into Summmit, November 20, 2019. Accessed February 1, 2020. "The vote -- and the swearing in of new Ward I Council Member Susan Hairston -- occurred on a rare Monday night meeting, the adjustment made due to the fact that several City officials were headed to Atlantic City for the New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference that began November 19. A standing-room-only crowd witnessed -- in the meeting's first order of business -- the swearing-in of Hairston who, upon taking the oath, became Summit's first-ever African American Council Member. She was elected on November 5 to complete the final year of late Council Member Matthew Gould's term."
^Biography of Bob Menendez, United States Senate, January 26, 2015. "Menendez, who started his political career in Union City, moved in September from Paramus to one of Harrison's new apartment buildings near the town's PATH station.."
^. United States Senate. Accessed April 30, 2021. "Booker, Cory A. - (D - NJ) Class II; Menendez, Robert - (D - NJ) Class I"
^Summit Board of Education District Policy 0110 - Identification, Summit Public Schools. Accessed March 11, 2020. "Purpose: The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of public education in grades Pre-Kindergarten through twelve in the Summit School District. Composition: The Summit School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of Summit."
^Board of Education: About the Board, Summit Public Schools. Accessed February 8, 2020. "Summit operates under New Jersey Statute Title 18A as a Type I board of education. This statute mandates that members of Type I districts' boards of education be appointed by the mayor rather than be elected by popular vote.... The seven members of the Summit Board of Education are appointed by the mayor for three-year staggered terms, with two or three of the seats up for appointment or reappointment each year."
^Roll, Erin. "Montclair Parents Debate Appointed Vs. Elected School Board", Montclair Local, April 4, 2019. Accessed May 9, 2020. "Montclair is one of 11 school districts in New Jersey in which the board of education is appointed by the mayor, rather than elected.... As of 2018, Montclair was one of only 11 Type I school districts in New Jersey. The other 10 are Ventnor, Port Republic, Rockleigh, Pine Valley, East Orange, East Newark, Union City, Harrison, Trenton and Summit."
^Kaplan, Dave. "'A Natural' Returns Home", The New York Times, May 8, 2005. Accessed July 31, 2018. "The visitor was Willie Wilson, Summit's famous and once-favorite son. For the first time in 25 years, he was dropping by where he had been one of the greatest schoolboy athletes in New Jersey history and had become a larger-than-life legend.... Two of the most popular sports in Summit today are lacrosse and soccer, which were afterthoughts in Mr. Wilson's day."
^ abcdeCahillane, Kevin. "Soapbox; Say, Pal, Can You Spare a BMW?", The New York Times, February 19, 2016. Accessed July 31, 2018. "In fact, there's an ever-diminishing corner of the city akin to the so-called slums of Beverly Hills, where middle-income homeowners like me can take advantage of the schools and services of Summit without the million-dollar price tags so ubiquitous on the other side of the Midtown Direct tracks."
^The Carter HouseArchived 2013-06-09 at the Wayback Machine, Summit Historical Society. Accessed May 23, 2013. "The Carter House, the current home of the Summit Historical Society, is believed to be the oldest existing building in Summit."
^Genovese, Peter. "N.J's best diner: What to eat at the oldest diner in the state", December 4, 2015, updated January 17, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2019. "Change came to the Summit Diner in Summit three years ago. The bathrooms were renovated, and a new oven hood installed. That's about as serious as change gets at this classic diner, the state's oldest and the latest stop in our search for N.J.'s diner."
^Patricia E. Meola (March 11, 2009). "TV-36 has new look, name but local focus remains". Independent Press.
^Patricia E. Meola (March 18, 2009). "Local TV station has new look, many new shows". Independent Press.
^Roger Smith (December 16, 2009). "Future is looking bright for Summit-based TV station". Independent Press.
^Hale, Mike. "Monk: Here's What Happened", The New York Times, December 5, 2009. Accessed December 31, 2012. "In a sweet closing montage, we got a peek into the near future: Randy (Jason-Gray Stanford) settling into his new job as police chief of Summit, N.J...."
^Staff. "Kings Pick Two, Trade Huet For Garon On First Day Of Draft", OurSportsCentral.com, June 26, 2004. Accessed February 18, 2011. "Baier, 19, was the final selection by the Kings (third round, 95th overall) today. In 23 games last season with Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, the 6-foot-3, 212-pounder from Summit, New Jersey, recorded 10 points (6-4=10) and 22 penalty minutes."
^Whitty, Stephen. "NYFCC awards go to Saoirse Ronan, 'Girls Trip,' NJ director", Inside Jersey, November 30, 2017. Accessed June 26, 2018. "And Summit native Sean Baker's heartbreaking The Florida Project, about a struggling single mother and her amazingly resilient daughter, was not far behind, with a best director award for Baker and a best supporting actor prize for Willem Dafoe."
^Turpin, Craig. "New Jersey FairTax talk in Somerville about Missouri tax proposal's impact on state business", Somerset Reporter, April 19, 2009. Accessed February 18, 2011. "Others who attended but who are not shown in the picture are Carol Hartlove of Somerville, Jim Bennett of Summit, Stan Serafin of Watchung, Linda Terczak of Union and Doug Dash of Collingswood. The fair tax is a federal tax reform proposal to replace corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes and estate and gift taxes with a national retail consumption tax."
^White, Neil. "Mark Berson: Still the one and only", The State, October 27, 2012. Accessed October 11, 2015. "A 1975 graduate of North Carolina, where he was a goalkeeper for the Tar Heels soccer team, Berson, who attended Summit High School in New Jersey, found a permanent home in the Palmetto State."
^Wallace, William N. "Dibbs Ousts Kriek to Reach Quarterfinals", The New York Times, May 8, 1981. Accessed May 23, 2013. "Purcell, a 21-year-old blond from Murray, Ky., won every game but the first one in beating Fritz Buehning, 6-1, 6-0, in 42 minutes. Buehning, from Summit, N.J., had knocked out Gerulaitis."
^Carino, Jerry. "John Carroll's son commits to RU", Courier News, October 27, 2009. Accessed October 11, 2015. "His dad knows the New Jersey hardwood scene well. John Carroll starred at Summit High School in the early 1970s and served as an assistant coach at Seton Hall for seven years, culminating in the Pirates' 1989 Final Four appearance."
^Brooks, Brian. "indieWIRE Interview: Laurie Collyer, director of Sherrybaby", indiewire, September 7, 2006. Accessed September 9, 2015. "I was born in Summit, New Jersey exactly one year after the Velvet Underground played their debut concert at Summit high school. I lived all my life in Mountainside, New Jersey until I went to Oberlin College at age 17."
^James Cramer profileArchived 2007-04-19 at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 23, 2007. "Jim recently published his first two books, Confessions of a Street Addict and You Got Screwed, and his third book, Jim Cramer's RealMoney is due out in April, 2005. He lives in Summit, New Jersey, with his wife and two girls."
^Cahillane, Kevin. "In Person; The Smartest Guy in Summit?", The New York Times, March 5, 2006. Accessed July 31, 2018. "So, for one night at least -- the Oscars are Sunday night -- Summit will be in the spotlight as Mr. Gibney joins Marshall Curry (Summit High School class of 1988 and director of the film Street Fight, about the 2002 Newark mayoral election) as an Academy Award nominee in the Best Feature Documentary category."
^Mayne, Paul. "Davenport honoured by Jewish National Fund", Western News, June 1, 2008. Accessed February 18, 2011. "I am being honoured tonight for my commitment to tolerance and respect for diversity. Those were values I grew up with in our home in Summit, New Jersey. My parents, Ted and Charlotte Davenport, believed strongly in equality among people, respect for others, and opposing discrimination wherever it appeared."
^Marchioni, Tonimarie. "Q&A With Lawrence Dillon", The Juilliard Journal, March 2011. Accessed October 11, 2015. "Born in Summit, N.J., in 1959, Dillon is now composer in residence at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served as music director of the Contemporary Ensemble, assistant dean of performance, and interim dean of the School of Music."
^Lustig, Jay. "Song of the Day: 'Firing Room,' East River Pipe", The Star-Ledger, December 29, 2010. Accessed February 19, 2011. "East River Pipe is the recording name of F.M. Cornog of Summit, who has released six albums and two EPs since 1994 (most recently, What Are You On?, in 2006), and has never performed his material live."
^Peterson, Iver. "Quiet Town Expects Its Senate Nominees to Run With Dignity", The New York Times, June 21, 2000. Accessed October 11, 2015. "Mr. Corzine, the multimillionaire bond trader and liberal Democrat, lives in the rich North Side, while Mr. Franks, the journeyman moderate who founded the Summit High School Young Republicans while he was in school, grew up here and now has a home in a kind of suburb of a suburb at Berkeley Heights, the next town over."
^Kuczka, Susan. "Politics Just Part Of Gash's Resume", Chicago Tribune, October 30, 2000. Accessed June 21, 2017. "Gash, who was born in Summit, N.J., and grew up in nearby Berkeley Heights, became a fixture in Highland Park after the family moved there in 1986, the same year their second child, Ben, was born."
^Biographical Sketch of Lauren Beth Gash in Illinois Blue Book 1999-2000, p. 100
^Tsai, Martin. "Alex Gibney's latest documentary corners Eliot Spitzer", The Star-Ledger, November 10, 2010. Accessed October 14, 2018. "Even though Alex Gibney has an Oscar, an Emmy, a Peabody and a Grammy sitting on his mantel, his life seems pretty much that of an ordinary Jersey guy. He commutes daily from Summit to his Manhattan office via the Lincoln Tunnel."
^Lawler, Sylvia. "Charles Gibson Perfectly Happy as 'GMA' Equal", The Morning Call, August 30, 1987. Accessed February 17, 2011. "Charlie, his wife Arlene, and their two daughters, had just spent their first night in a new home in Summit, N.J., where Mrs. Gibson is headmistress of a girls school before he headed out west to talk to the press."
^Davie Given, Elite Hockey Prospects. Accessed January 4, 2018. "Birthplace: Summit, NJ, USA"
^Frederick E. Humphreys: First Military Pilot, New York State Military Museum. Accessed February 19, 2011. "Frederick Erastus Humphreys was born September 16, 1883, at Summit, New Jersey, the only child of Jay and Fannie Brush Humphreys."
^ abAdams, Betty Livingston (2016). Black Women's Christian Activism: Seeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb. New York: NYU Press. ISBN9780814745465.
^Carter, Barry. "Former Olympic fighter sees gold in young Newark boxer's future", The Star-Ledger, August 16, 2016. Accessed November 23, 2017. "But Jones, a then-21-year-old Marine lance corporal, did everything right against Valeri Tregubov in their light-middleweight bout. He was in shape. He was aggressive. He cut off the ring, demonstrating how he did it before we watched the Stevenson fight at his home in Summit."
^Cheslow, Jerry. "A Transit Hub With a Thriving Downtown", The New York Times, July 13, 1997. Accessed August 7, 2012. "The name Summit may have been coined by James Kent, retired Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, New York State's highest judicial office, who bought a house on the hill in 1837 and named it Summit Lodge."
^Staff. "N.J. sports writers to honor Summit's Leiter", Independent Press, January 10, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2014. "Current Summit resident and former Mets and Yankees pitcher Al Leiter will be among the honorees at the New Jersey Sports Writers 76th Anniversary Banquet on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Pines Manor in Edison."
^Hyman, Vicki. "Giants' Eli Manning drops $8.5M on Hamptons mansion", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, January 16, 2017. Accessed October 19, 2018. "Manning, who lives in Summit and has three children with his wife Abby McGrew, closed on the 5-bedroom home on an acre with a pool in an off-market deal in October."
^Keill, Liz. "Nancy Munoz", Independent Press, April 6, 2009. Accessed February 18, 2011. "With the death of her husband Eric Munoz, Summit resident Nancy Munoz said she was asked if she would be willing to consider filing for his Assembly seat."
^Coleman, Brian. "Junior Player Spotlight: Alexa Noel and Evan Wen", New York Tennis Magazine, May 5, 2017. Accessed August 30, 2019. "The Summit, N.J. native won seven consecutive matches without dropping a set to reach the title contest. In the final, she faced her first bit of adversity in the tournament as Zheng, following Noel's first set victory, forced the match into a deciding third by winning the second, Noel's first set defeat of the tournament."
^Staff. "Summit's Ryan O'Malley Signed to Raiders Practice Squad", TAPintoSummit, September 5, 2016. Accessed November 30, 2016. "Ryan O'Malley, Summit High School Class of 2011 -- who was signed to a free agent contract in late April by the Oakland Raiders -- has been added to the team's NFL practice squad."
^McLellan, Joseph. "On Center Stage: The Neoromantics", The Washington Post, October 29, 2008. Accessed January 14, 2015. "Coincidentally or not, all four of this year's finalists were born on the East Coast, though Stephen Paulus (represented by his Violin Concerto) has spent his career in Minneapolis. Paulus is one of the three Friedheim finalists born in the New York area — Summit, N.J."
^Rybolt, Barbara. "Summit man, Gov. Christie's new chief counsel, is quiet on Bridgegate", Independent Press, January 13, 2014. Accessed June 18, 2016. "Today, Jan. 13, Summit resident Christopher Porrino, 47, started his first day as chief counsel for Gov. Chris Christie.... The father of two boys ages 12 and 14, he and his wife Christina Shenoudamoved to Summit when they got married in 1997 and have been here ever since."
^Lohr, Steve. "Dennis Ritchie, Trailblazer in Digital Era, Dies at 70", The New York Times, October 14, 2011. Accessed October 17, 2011. "Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was born on Sept. 9, 1941, in Bronxville, N.Y. His father, Alistair, was an engineer at Bell Labs, and his mother, Jean McGee Ritchie, was a homemaker. When he was a child, the family moved to Summit, N.J., where Mr. Ritchie grew up and attended high school."
^Levin, Jay. "Eli Sagan, 87, proud Nixon 'enemy'", The Record (North Jersey), January 9, 2015. Accessed January 18, 2015. "Eli Sagan, a Summit native, studied economics at Harvard and immediately went to work for the New York Girl Coat Co., which had manufacturing operations in New Jersey and supplied clothing to department stores."
^Saxon, Wolfgang. "Joseph Howard Stamler, 86, Influential New Jersey Judge", The New York Times, October 23, 1998. Accessed January 24, 2018. "Joseph Howard Stamler, a former Newark lawyer whose decisions had a wide impact in the seven years he was a New Jersey Superior Court judge, died on Friday at his home in Stony Creek, Conn. He was 86 and a former resident of Summit, N.J."
^Rybolt, Barbara. "HBO's True Blood features song created by Summit teen", Independent Press, October 4, 2014. Accessed August 30, 2019. "Nineteen-year-old Will Taggart of Summit (above) and his friend Derrick Schneider, 18, from Rockaway, wrote a song together when they were 14 and students at the School of Rock in Chatham. Their song, 'Open The Gates,' was used in the HBO hit True Blood, in the episode 'May Be the Last Time,' which aired on Aug. 3."
^Edwin Votey is rightly credited as the inventor of the Pianola, The Pianola Institute. Accessed January 20, 2020. "Votey's other achievements included the invention and development of the Aeolian Pipe Organ, the design and administration of numerous musical instrument factories, directorships within the Aeolian Company and other enterprises, and even periods of office as a local councillor in his adopted city of Summit, New Jersey."
^Staff. "Arthur K. Watson", The New York Times, March 14, 1972. Accessed February 19, 2011. "Arthur Kittredge Watson, the younger son of Thomas J. Watson, was born in Summit, N.J., on April 23, 1919."
^Mannarino, Al. "11 people you didn't know were from New Jersey", Asbury Park Press, May 8, 2015. Accessed July 31, 2018. "Formerly of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way is one of the most recognizable names in rock. Originally from Summit, NJ, Way has gone on to start a solo career and most recently his first album, Hesitant Alien."
^McDonald, Duff (September 29, 2011). "The Prophet Motive". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
^Wilson, Martha G. "New Jersey Guide; State Opera Opener", The New York Times, January 24, 1982. Accessed February 18, 2011. "Whittredge, who was born in Ohio in 1820, was a self-taught painter who came under the influence of the Hudson River School. In 1849, he traveled to Europe, where he studied and painted for 10 years. He moved to Summit in 1880, and lived there until his death in 1910."
^Rosen, Byron. "Royal Rookie Will o' Wisp To Claiborne", The Washington Post, May 3, 1978, Accessed January 14, 2015. "NFL draft day found Willie Wilson in New York with baseball's K.C. Royals, and the Associated Press remarked that if the erstwhile Summit, N.J., prep football flash had gone on to play with Maryland after signing a letter of intent, he might have gotten rich as a No. 1 pro football draft pick."