Summit , New Jersey Town
Summit is renowned for the beauty of its tree-lined streets, its vibrant downtown and the quality of its schools. It has just over 21,000 residents comprising a diverse economic and ethnic cross-section that makes for a friendly and exciting place to call your hometown. Housing is available at all levels, from cozy starter homes to charming family residences to luxury villas all set in a nostalgic small town atmosphere.
This desirable suburban community is nestled in the hills of the Watchung Reservation with six square miles of broken hills at a 450-foot elevation. Summit sits above Springfield, to the east of Millburn, and just northwest, Chatham joins Summit to pinch the broad valley of the Passaic River.
Summit is a family-oriented residential community with light industry. Many residents have escaped the big-city stresses to enjoy the peaceful, quality life in an agreeable climate that Summit has to offer. More importantly, their relentless dedication for volunteerism has made the Summit community a leader in civic mindedness.
Summit’s Downtown Business District is a fabulous tapestry of retail and commercial businesses. There’s an abundance of specialty and gift shops, clothing stores, home furnishing emporiums, restaurants, bakeries, fine wine outlets and a movie theater all within short walking distances plus there’s ample free parking.
Artistic and cultural traditions are strong in Summit, with its roots in the visual arts dating back to Whorthing to Whittredge, a painter of the Hudson River School who lived in Summit from 1880 to 1910.
For nature lovers, the Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a great place to visit featuring formal gardens and woodlands on its 12.5 acre site that is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
Dedicated to preserving its historic past and protecting its architectural heritage, Summit has several buildings that are truly impressive. The Grand Summit Hotel, originally known as the Blackburn, played an important role in drawing people to Summit for summer retreats in its early years and continues to be a preferred dining and hotel destination. The Summit Historical Society is housed in the town’s oldest house built in 1747 located and the Summit Opera House, erected in 1894 as a “dry entertainment” hall, currently houses a restaurant, shops and even residences.
With roots in the American Revolution and more than 250 years as a fine residential community offering the most comfortable and enjoyable quality of life, Summit welcomes you to the very finest place to call home.
Nestled in the Watchung Mountains, the City of Summit is located in New Jersey’s historic and beautiful Union County in the northern part of the state. Long admired for the beauty of its tree-lined streets, its vibrant downtown and the quality of its schools, Summit’s roots date to the years prior to the American Revolution.
Located just 35 miles west of New York City, Summit is a stunning suburban community with desirable homes and fabulous shopping. Traveling is made simple with easily accessible train stations and bus routes as well as close proximity to the I-78, Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike and Newark International Airport. Newark is 13 miles east, the state capital at Trenton is 65 miles south, Washington, DC is 250 miles south and the amazing historic attractions of Philadelphia are 90 miles south.
There are many parks and recreation facilities in the area and the year-round adventure of the Jersey Shore including the casinos of Atlantic City are nearby. Set amidst adjacent charming towns and villages with the awesome cultural attractions and economic interests of the Big Apple beckoning, Summit offers an enticing range of activities and opportunities that make it the perfect location for generations of happily-ever-after living.
Getting around the region from Summit is a breeze. Convenient by auto but especially easy via an extensive public transportation network, Summit is linked it to Manhattan, Newark, the New Jersey Shore as well as historic sites throughout the surrounding region by the most modern and convenient transportation infrastructure.
Highway Routes 24, 78, 280, 95 and the Garden State Parkway make it easy to move around. Manhattan is easily accessible via the Lincoln Tunnel (21 miles) or George Washington Bridge to the N.J. Turnpike north or the Turnpike Extension to the Holland Tunnel (17 miles).
Sensational rail and bus links to Newark and Manhattan mean that commuters find this thriving community the perfect place to settle down. The City of Summit has numerous parking garages and lots supplying ample parking for resident commuters. The Summit Train Station links the community to Manhattan via the Midtown Direct Line that arrives at the centrally located 33rd Street Station. Midtown Direct trains also provide service into Penn Station as well and the average commute time is approximately 30 relaxing minutes, just enough time to peruse the paper. PATH trains operated by the New York/New Jersey Port Authority go directly to Wall Street and provide continuous service to Wall Street and midtown Manhattan with most trains running every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day. The basic cash fare is $1.50 with discount for multi-ride tickets. Children under 5 ride free.
Bus service is also very convenient and available through the Lakeland Bus Service to New York’s Port Authority. Stopping in Millburn / Short Hills and traveling through the Holland Tunnel, there are two stops in Summit and the average duration of the trip is 1 hour and 15minutes. The Camptown Bus Line is a commuter bus line that, services Wall Street and buses leave weekdays at 6:40, 6:55, and 7:15 AM from the corner of Broad and Elm Street and depart Wall Street at 5:15 and 5:30 PM from Church and Liberty Streets. There’s even a service called WHEELS for inbound commuters that picks up local employees at the Summit train station and takes them to their work locations. The Wheels network is extensive, servicing Union, Morris and Essex Counties. AIRLINK offers bus service from Newark Penn Station to Newark International Airport while MCRIDE forms and manages carpools and vanpools in Union, Morris, Essex, Sussex, Warren and Passaic Counties.
An especially enjoyable commute option is traveling by ferry. The NY Waterway Ferry services midtown (Pier 78, W.38th St.) and the South Street Seaport (pier 17) from Harbors Side, Wee Hawken and Hoboken with free bus service to Lincoln Center, the Theater District, Madison Square Garden and Downtown/Battery.
The Amtrak Metroliner services Trenton, Philadelphia and Washington DC with daily trains leaving every hour. This is the most comfortable and convenient way to travel to Washington. There are two Amtrak stations in Newark as well as a fully staffed Greyhound bus depot for travelers who prefer highways to rails.
Many airports serve the area including Newark Liberty Airport, where flights depart to and arrive from both domestic and international destinations. Newark Airport is famous for its easy to use accessibility and low cost, cross-country fares. Other airports in the area include regional Teterboro Airport and of course NYC’s Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports where you can catch a flight to anywhere in the world.
The area that now includes Summit, New Jersey was purchased from the local Indians on October 28, 1664 for “twenty fathoms of trading cloth, two made coats, two guns, two kettles, ten bars of lead and twenty handfuls of powder.
Summit is located in Union county, one of the smallest counties in New Jersey. It’s roots date back to the years prior to the American Revolution. The earliest white settlers arrived in the area around 1710. They were a combination of Puritans, fleeing religious persecution in England as well as people already established in New England, many from the Connecticut and Long Island regions. The area was especially attractive to the new settlers because it was blessed with abundant timber for building, rabbits for pelts, wild turkey for food plus the valley was extremely fertile boasting soil ideal for growing wheat and corn. In addition the Passaic River that passed through the area was full of fish to eat and suitable for transportation.
Summit was originally a part of an area called “Turkey” because of the wild turkey abundant in the area. During the Revolutionary period and for some time afterwards Summit was called the “Heights over Springfield” and was considered a part of New Providence. The original name of Summit was “Turkey Hill” to mark it apart from “Turkey”, as New Providence was known until 1750. The oldest home in the city is the Carter House, built in 1741, which is the home of the Summit Historical Society.
When the American Revolution broke out, Summit was still only a region of several farms with a few small clusters of development including some mills and forges along early roads and the river. It remained a cozy farming community populated by about 300 people until 1837 when the railroad came over the “The Summit” hill. The name was later shortened to Summit, and the present-day town was on its way to being created. Union County was officially formed by the state legislature on March 19th, 1857 and it was the last of New Jersey’s counties to be created. In 1869, with a population of about 1,100, Summit seceded from New Providence Township and created Summit Township because residents disagreed over the rapid increase in population and businesses due to railroad facilities. The town center around Union Place and Maple Street continued to grow and within thirty years, on April 11 1899, the City of
Summit was incorporated.
Following the Civil War, Summit became a renowned summer resort area. Summit attracted extremely wealthy people who built extensive summer estates. By the 1850s, the easy commute to Newark and New York on the trains and the fresh air and cool breezes that offered a respite for big city residents from the summer heat, drew many visitors to establish year-round homes in town. Today, a number of what those wealthy New Yorkers called “cottages”, but which were in fact opulent mansions, still exist.
The Grand Summit Hotel, originally known as the Blackburn, played an important role in drawing people to Summit for summer retreats in the township’s early years and continues to be a preferred dining and hotel destination. More than 130 years of history echo in the gracious and traditional décor. Originally constructed in 1868, the current building dates from 1929 and was built by expert European craftsmen whose detailed work left all the rooms beautifully appointed.
By 1904 the present railroad station was constructed on Springfield Avenue, which had become the main commercial street. As Summit continued to gain a reputation as a desirable commuter city, streets were lined with architect-designed houses demonstrating the many eclectic styles of the period, including Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival. The landmark high school building, now the middle school, was constructed in 1923. In 1925, way ahead of its time, Summit was the first city to bury utility wires underground.
Following World War II, the city experienced its second great building boom. The mansions on New England Avenue were razed to make room for apartments, and the Canoe Brook Parkway neighborhood saw the construction of hundreds of split level houses designed for families who decided to call Summit home.
In the last few years the city has made a big push to modernize its downtown business district. A beautification project that included widening of sidewalks for pedestrian traffic, improved street and sidewalk lighting, festive space for markets and special events with sidewalk tree and seasonal plantings was realized.
The downtown business district now features a wide variety of retail and commercial businesses with an abundance of specialty boutiques, gift shops, clothing stores, furniture dealers, restaurants, bakeries, fine wine outlets and a movie theater all within short walking distances. The downtown improvements are a shining example of Summit’s celebration of its past and its determination to always make the future even brighter.
The City of Summit has made a commitment to assuring that the highest standards of education are upheld in the community. Summit Public Schools are consistently rated superior, not only academically but also for their music, art and athletics programs. This is reflected in very high standardized test scores at every grade level as well as the many students who have been included in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The public school district has five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. There is also a preschool program available at no cost where enrollment is determined by lottery. All elementary schools offer the same core curriculum. Special features include Spanish language instruction in grades 1-5 and advanced instruction to math students in grades four and five through a mathematics achievement program. Arts and music education is also deemed vitally important. Vocal instruction begins in kindergarten and instrumental music in the fourth grade. Each school has and extensive computer center with multimedia computers, a large screen television, easy Internet access and Wifi technology and all classrooms are equipped with computers and other technologies that are integrated into elementary education.
The middle school offers similar resources including a large library/media center, computers in every classroom and four technology labs where students learn computer applications, research skills as well as graphic and industrial arts. Mathematics achievement is followed into middle school as well and gifted students are offered an advanced program of instruction.
Summit High School has over 130 courses designed to challenge and encourage students and prepare them for higher education. 18 advanced placement (AP) courses in a variety of subjects provide students the opportunity to earn possible college credits. The average class size is 20 students per teacher and requirements for graduation significantly exceed those mandated by the state. Average SAT scores are 589 in mathematics (vs. 515 for the state) and 583 in the verbal section (vs. 501 for the state). 98% of graduates continue their education with 84% enrolled at four-year colleges and universities. A $22.4 million project to renovate and enlarge Summit High School and to improve the school’s curriculum and program was recently completed. There is a new two-story classroom wing, library/media center, gym and 12 new or renovated science classrooms.
Citizen involvement is an integral part of the public school district community. Enthusiastic citizen groups and businesses participate by volunteering and by offering financial support for numerous school activities. Among these groups are the PTAs and PTOs, the Summit Educational Foundation, the Summit Schools Boosters Association, the Summit Performing Arts Resource Committee, the Summit High School Music Parents Association and Speak Up Summit.
There is one private preschool, the Summit Childcare Center, and there are two private k-12 schools, the Kent Place School (girls only) and the Oak Knoll Holy Child School. The Oratory Prep School serves boys only in grades 7-12.
There is one community college and three universities in the area. Union County College, the oldest community college in New Jersey was founded in 1933 and serves both career-minded and transfer-oriented students. The school is focused on ensuring its programs and facilities are equipped to prepare students for the intellectual and technological demands of the 21st century while maintaining a commitment to a solid liberal arts foundation. One of the school’s newest offerings is dubbed NJ STARS. This is an initiative created by the State of New Jersey that makes local high school graduates in the top 20 percent of their class eligible for the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) which covers tuition and fees for up to five semesters at UCC .
Seton Hall University is located in South Orange at the foot of South Mountain. From its original enrollment of a handful of students, Seton Hall is now a major Catholic university, with more than 10,000 students from 40 U.S. states and territories, and dozens of countries. Among many areas of study it has pioneered, it has founded a School of Diplomacy and International Relations in a unique alliance with the United Nations.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark has over 4,000 students of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and the life sciences plus more than 1,000 medical interns and residents. UMDNJ is the single entity responsible for statewide undergraduate and graduate medical and dental education, as well as for other health professions. It is also the state’s primary source of continuing and advanced education for health professionals.
Rutgers University in Newark was chartered in 1766 as Queen’s College and is the eighth-oldest college in the nation. Rutgers has 29 degree-granting schools and colleges, 16 of which offer graduate programs of study. More than 100 distinct bachelors, 100 masters, and 80 doctoral and professional degrees are offered. Student enrollment totals 51,480 students, 12,904 of whom are graduate students. Boasting a world-renowned faculty, ninety-eight percent of members hold a PhD or other highest degree from top-ranked colleges and universities worldwide