is a city
in northwestern Union County
, New Jersey
, United States
. As of the United States 2000 Census
, the city population was 21,131. It has the ZIP code
What is now the city of Summit was created as Summit Township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1869, from portions of New Providence Township (now Berkeley Heights) and Springfield Township. Summit was reincorporated as a city on March 8, 1899.
Beyond the obvious derivation from its position atop the Second Watchung Mountain, other theories have been offered to account for the city's name. The house in which Jurist James Kent lived starting in 1837 called Summit Lodge (today standing at 50 Kent Place Boulevard), and a local sawmill owner who granted passage to the Morris and Essex Railroad for a route required to climb to "the summit of the Short Hills" have both been offered as the source of the city's name.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Summit as its 29th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.. Summit is also the 16th wealthiest community in the state of New Jersey.
Summit is located at (40.716201, -74.362459).
The city is bordered by many municipalities: to the northeast by Millburn in Essex County, to the northwest by Chatham and Chatham Township, both in Morris County, to the west by New Providence, to the southwest by Berkeley Heights, to the south by Mountainside and to the southeast by Springfield Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.7 km²), of which, 6.1 square miles (15.7 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.33%) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 21,131 people, 7,897 households, and 5,606 families residing in the city. The population density
was 3,490.7 people per square mile (1,348.5/km²). There were 8,146 housing units at an average density of 1,345.7/sq mi (519.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.77% White
, 4.33% African American
, 0.09% Native American
, 4.45% Asian
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 1.70% from other races
, and 1.65% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 10.17% of the population.
There were 7,897 households out 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.
In the city the population was spread out with 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 $95,017, 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.
The region in which Summit is located was purchased from Native Americans
on October 28
. Summit's earliest European settlers came to the area around the year 1710.
The original name of Summit was "Pie Hill" to distinguish it from the area then known as "The land of the rising sun" (New Providence's original name until 1759). During the American Revolutionary War period, 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 a regional government called Springfield Township, which eventually broke up into separate municipalities. Eventually only Summit and New Providence remained joined.
Lord Chancellor James Kent who was the Chancellor of New York State and who wrote Commentaries on American Law retired to this area in 1837 in a house he called Summit Lodge, a source that has been cited as naming the City of Summit. He lived in Summit between 1837 and 1847 and lived in a small lodge on what is now called Kent Place Boulevard. The original lodge is now 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 the New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Lines, was built over what was then called the "The Summit" hill, and the name was later shortened to Summit.
In 1869, Summit and New Providence separated and the Summit area became the "Township of Summit". The present-day incarnation of Summit, known formally as the City of Summit was incorporated thirty years later on April 11, 1899.
In the 19th Century, Summit served as a nearby getaway spot for wealthy residents of New York City, who were in search of fresh air and a convenient weekend getaway. Weekenders would reach Summit via the railroad, and would relax at large grand hotels and smaller inns and guest houses.
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 suburban houses that it is known for today.
Summit is the wealthiest municipality with a city designation in New Jersey, which defies the run-down, high-crime atmosphere of many other New Jersey cities (as opposed to villages, boroughs, and townships).
On April 11
, 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
, the New Jersey Legislature
enacted a law that repealed all of the remaining provisions of Summit's original Charter and replaced and retained sections not covered by general law and specific to Summit's original Charter. Summit's Charter now allows 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.
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 Police Chief and the Board of Education. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of School Estimate and on various committees, and has the right to speak at Common Council meetings. The mayor can only vote to break ties in the Council and has the right to speak out on issues. This bully pulpit role is considered the mayor's strongest power.
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 consists of three members from Ward I and three members from Ward II and one member elected at-large. The six ward members serve three year terms and the at-large member serves a two year term. The Council elects from its membership a President for a one year term and a President Pro Tem for 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.
Summit has been considered a stronghold for the Republican Party for years. From 1921 to 2001 no Democrats served in elective office and very few ran for office. The real elections occurred in the Republican Primary. In 2001, Michel Bitritto won a Council seat in Ward I and Jordan Glatt won the at-large council seat. Summit had never elected a Democratic Mayor until 2003, when Jordan Glatt was elected.
Jordan Glatt is the current Mayor of Summit. Members of the Common Council are:
- At-large: Frank Macioce
- Ward I: Ellen K. Dickson
- Ward I: Thomas Getzendanner
- Ward I: Diane Klaif
- Ward II: Dave A. Bomgaars
- Ward II: J. Andrew Lark
- Ward II: Michael J. Vernotico
Christopher Cotter is the City Administrator of Summit. In this role he directs day to day operations of city government and the city departments. He is a former Fire Chief and Director of Community Services.
Federal, state and county representation
Summit is in the Seventh Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 21st Legislative District.
Munoz is a Summit resident and former Councilman-at-Large.
Students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade are educated by the Summit Public Schools
. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics
- Brayton School with 489 students (K-5) principal: Dr. Cheryl Moretz. Brayton School was named in honor of Brayton Larned, who died at the age of 15. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Z. Larned, owned the land Brayton now stands on. At the time of their son’s death they donated it to the city for the construction of the school. The Larned Family also built the large house on the grounds of the Oak Knoll School. Brayton Larned was brother to William Larned.
- Franklin School with 400 students (K-5) Principal: Sheila Cole
- Jefferson School with 233 students (K-5) Principal: Ron Poles
- Lincoln-Hubbard School with 382 students (PK-5) Principal: Matthew Carlin
- Washington School with 350 students (1-5)
Middle School principal: Theadore Stanik, retiring As of July 1, 2008, new Principal: Matthew Block; Vice Principal: Eimile George
Summit High School was ranked as Number 149 nationwide in Newsweek magazine's 2005 listing of "America's Best High Schools" in the August 5, 2005 issue.
Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
, a major regional art center with both a professionally recognized art school and a critically acclaimed exhibition program.
- The Summit Diner, located on the corner of Union Place & Summit Ave., is an O'Mahony diner that has wood paneled walls, eight booths and 20 stools. It is an historic diner known for its Taylor Ham, Egg & Cheese sandwiches. Local legend says author Ernest Hemingway visited the diner and later used it as a setting for his short story "The Killers". In the story, two men are sitting at a lunch counter in a diner, and one turns to the other and says, “This is a hot town, ... What do they call it?” “Summit,” says the other. However, this is highly unlikely as the Summit Diner is a O'Mahony 1938 model and Hemingway published his story in 1926. Also, in his definitive biography of Hemingway, Carlos Baker states that the reference by Hemingway was to a small town outside of Chicago (and not to Summit, New Jersey). Carlos Baker, "Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story" (1969).
- Newman Hall is one of Summit's first mansions, built in the late 1800s. It stands at the corner of Morris Avenue and Bedford Road, and was lived in for many years by the Truslow family. Today it houses offices and classrooms used by its owner, Oratory Prep School.
- Twin Maples is another Registered Historic Place, at Springfield Avenue and Edgewood Road. It is home to the Summit Fortnightly Club and the Junior Fortnightly.
- The Summit Opera House was originally built in the 1890s by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union as a dry entertainment hall and local W.C.T.U. meeting place. 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.
Don't forget everybody in towns favorite ice-cream store the Magic Fountain. Sitting across from Washington thoose kids are the first to know when it opens.
Information about all of Summit High School's sports teams as well as several local youth athletic associations is available at
Service on the New Jersey Transit Gladstone Branch and Morristown Line is available at the Summit station, offering service to Hoboken Terminal and to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan via the Secaucus Junction.
Route 24 runs along the eastern boundary of Summit. Interstate 78 runs along the southern boundary of Summit. Route 124 and County Route 512 also pass through Summit.
Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark / Elizabeth is approximately 15 minutes away via Interstate 78.
The Rahway Valley Railroad
connected to the defunct Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
(DL&W) in Summit. In the early 20th Century, both freight and passenger service were offered by the Rahway Valley Railroad
. The line is currently out of service. Union County
is exploring the possibility of reactivating the line for freight shipments.
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.
Summit had a mini-bus system, with three routes, in the late 1970s. The mini-buses ran through most parts of Summit on long circular routes that were primarily designed to bring commuters to the railroad station in downtown Summit.
Due to its proximity to New York City
, daily newspapers serving the community are The New York Times
, The Wall Street Journal
, and The Star-Ledger
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.
The Alternative Press is an online daily source for commmunity news and information, covering Summit, New Providence and Berkeley Heights
- Schering Plough is a pharmaceutical company and one of Summit's largest corporate tax-payers. Its facilities in the western part of Summit were previously home to Novartis and, before that, Ciba.
- *The pervasive medication Ritalin was researched and developed at the Ciba facility (now the Schering-Plough campus)
- Celgene is a biotechnology company and another large corporate tax-payer that is headquartered in Summit. Its facilities are in the southern part of Summit.
Notable current and former residents of Summit include:
- Paul Davenport (born 1946), ninth president of the University of Western Ontario.
- Mark Donohue (1937-1975), racecar, Indy, Formula 1 and NASCAR driver, Winner of the 1972 Indy 500
- Ice T (born 1958 as Tracy Lauren Marrow), rapper/actor, resided in Summit as a child. He attended Brayton Elementary School and moved to Los Angeles to live with family members after the death of his parents.
- Holbrook Mann MacNeille (1907-1973), mathematician, grew up in Summit and went on to develop radar systems for the Office of Scientific Research and Development in England during World War II
- Meryl Streep (born 1949), actress, was born in Summit.
- The Velvet Underground played their first paid concert at Summit High School Prom.
- Gerard Way (born 1977), lead singer of the New Jersey based band My Chemical Romance was born in Summit. His brother, Mikey Way, was born in a Newark hospital not far from Summit.
- Willie Wilson (born 1955), retired professional baseball player with the Kansas City Royals (1976-1990), Oakland Athletics (1991-1992) and Chicago Cubs (1993-1994). He was a 2-time All-Star and won the AL batting title in 1982 with a .332 average.
- John Bardeen (1908-1991), physicist who was the only person to have won two Nobel prizes in physics: in 1956 for the transistor, along with William Shockley and Walter Houser Brattain, and in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity together with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer, now called BCS theory.
- Walter Houser Brattain (1902-1987), physicist who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for the transistor.
- Fritz Buehning (born 1960), former professional tennis player.
- Mark Cesark (born 1965), sculptor, best known for his use of found and scrap steel.
- Greg Cohen, jazz artist.
- Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), censor and postal inspector.
- William A. Conway (1910-2006), former President and CEO of Garden State National Bank.
- Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine (No longer lives in Summit).
- Jim Cramer (born 1955), stock trader and CNBC's former Kudlow & Cramer and present Mad Money anchor.
- Carl Frosch, Bell Labs researcher who pioneered deposition and etching of silicon dioxide on silicon.
- Scott Goldblatt (born 1979), freestyle swimmer who won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens in the 4x200m Freestyle.
- Kenneth Gow (1889-1918), First Lieutenant, U.S. Army. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action in France on September 29, 1918. He was killed on October 17, 1918.
- Charles Gibson (born 1943), anchor of Good Morning America. His wife was the former head of Kent Place School.
- Lord Chancellor Kent (1763-1847), Lord Chancellor of New York State (1814 -1823) lived in Summit 1837 through 1847.
- William "Bill" Larned (1872-1926), a professional tennis player who won the U.S. Open several times around the turn of the century was a Summit resident. Larned Road, which runs by municipal tennis courts at Memorial Field, is named for both him and his father, who once owned the land. Ranked #40 on the Sports Illustrated list of The 50 Greatest New Jersey Sports Figures.
- Marty Munsch (born 1967) producer, engineer, actor and owner of Punkrockrecords was born here.
- Margareta Pâslaru (born 1943), one of the most prolific Romanian singer. Immigrated to the USA in 1983.
- Mark B. Sutton, former President & CEO of Paine Webber and UBS Americas.
- Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910), an American landscape artist and important member of the Hudson River School, lived and worked in Summit from 1880 until his death in 1910. (A street in town, Whittredge Road, is named for him).
Points of interest
- Reeves-Reed Arboretum - owned by the city, at 165 Hobart Ave., and open to the public from sunrise to sunset, free of charge, every day of the year
- Watchung Reservation - Borders Summit to the south
- Carter House - at 90 Butler Parkway, Summit's oldest known structure, built in 1741, now home to the Summit Historical Society