Summit has been described as the Beverly Hills of New Jersey. It is a community comprised of Manhattan's financial elites and known for its real estate, good schools and its New Jersey Transit rail link to Wall Street. The township has long been popular with traders, investment bankers, and money managers. According to the U.S. Census nearly 20% of Summit's residents work in finance and real estate. Where else but in Summit could you have Mad Money financial guru Jim Cramer and former governor Jon Corzine as neighbors?
The Early Years
Summit was purchased from Native Americans on October 28, 1664. Its 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 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.
During the late 18th century period the area was then called the "Heights over Springfield,” and was considered a part of New Providence. During this time, 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. The name’s origin may also refer to its position atop the Second Watchung Mountain, a range of hilly ridges lying parallel to each other in that area of the state.