Summit is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. Originally incorporated 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. 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”.
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. 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. The Velvet Underground played their first paid concert at a Summit High School prom.
Summit residential real estate is expensive. In October 2009, the median house price was $655,500. 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. 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.
The 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.
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