Summit’s history explains the the town’s beautiful homes. Summit was a farming community populated by about 300 people until 1837. Eventually, the community began to evolve from a rural farming and milling town to a commercial town. After the Civil War, Summit became a summer resort area because of its crisp, fresh mountain air and proximity to New York City. Summit attracted extremely wealthy people who built extensive summer estates.
Summit’s natural landscape has had a definite influence in the development. This tree-dense suburban community is nestled in the hills of the Watchung Reservation with six square miles of hills at a 450-foot elevation. Summit sits above Springfield, to the west of Millburn, and to the northwest, Chatham joins Summit to pinch the broad valley of the Passaic River.
Currently, Summit has over 21,000 residents. It is a family-oriented residential community with light industry. Many Summit residents have attributed significantly to the world’s business, industrial and government affairs. More importantly, their dedication for volunteerism has made the Summit community prominent in civic mindedness. The governing body has sought out experts on economics, communications, education, government administration, physical and mental health, recreation, social planning, transportation and safety, all adding to the growth of Summit.
Proximity to NYC
Summit has several rail and bus links to Newark and Manhattan, Routes 24 and 78, the Garden State Parkway, and Newark-Liberty International Airport, making it incredibly convenient for commuters. The Midtown Direct train is a 30-minute express ride to Penn Station. The City of Summit has numerous parking garages and plentiful parking for resident commuters and downtown employees.
In 2000, the city’s downtown business district underwent a complete infrastructure and beautification project. Upgrades were made to utilities, sidewalks were widened, lighting was improved, and festive spaces for markets and special events with street-lined trees and seasonal plantings were created. Summit recognizes the importance of the downtown business district to the quality of life in the community.
Summit’s has a dynamic walking downtown with retail and commercial businesses including specialty and gift shops, clothing stores, home furnishings, restaurants, bakeries and fine wine stores.
Summit’s public education system includes two kindergarten primary centers and five first through grade fifth elementary schools, a middle school for grades six to eight, and Summit High School. Recently, Summit High School was ranked the 6th best high school in the State of New Jersey.
Artistic and cultural traditions are strong in Summit, with the town offering a range of arts, environment, recreation and cultural programs, facilities, and events. The Summit Boards of Recreation and Education, the Summit YMCA, the Connection, and many other non-profit organizations enable residents of all ages the ability to participate in leisure and health-related programs. Summit has many playing fields to include baseball, football, soccer, basketball, tennis, running track and a 9-par Golf Course and a Municipal Pool.
For nature lovers, the Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a great place to visit with gardens and woodlands on its 12.5 acres site and is on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. Nature classes and seasonal events are available for both children and adults.
Overlook Hospital was founded in 1906 and now serves as one of the leading hospitals in the New York metropolitan area and a very integral public service to the Summit area.
The Grand Summit Hotel, originally known as the Blackburn, played an important role in drawing people to Summit for summer retreats in Summit’s 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 at 90 Butler Parkway which is also the home of the town archives.
The Summit Opera House was erected in 1894 and currently functions as multiple purpose business and entertainment venue.