Summit Street

by Maryanne Van Sant


When I was small in the early 1950's, growing up on Summit Street just off Central Avenue, we had an elderly man named Markham (not sure of spelling) who lived on our street.

He remembered playing with the little boy who lived in our house when they were both small, which would have been in the 1880's, I would think. He said they would roll down Central Avenue, as it was a very grassy hill. Indeed, a small grassy park was in the center of Central Avenue, just above what is now Martin Luther King Blvd.

The history of our house at 35 Summit Street was that it was an old farmhouse built by the farmer for his son who was newly married. The father's house was the site of the old Dale & Rankin (gone now) - Summit St & Central Avenue, and his house was built around 1850 I was told.

When my father tore out the old fireplace in our house in 1955 he found an old tintype photo of a boy making his First Communion, with a white ribbon tied around his wrist, which is what they used to do around the turn of the century. He also found an old candle holder which they would hold as they walked through the house. In the attic we found old newspapers and grocery bills from the turn of the century.

Our house was torn down around 1960 to build senior citizen housing.
My aunt lived on 84 (I think) Burnet Street in what we were told was the former mayer of Newark's house. Her house was also torn down by St. Michael's Medical Center. Her house had a double staircase, one from the kitchen for the maid, and one from the front hall, both meeting at the top in the hallway. The backyard had a huge carriage house, which would have housed the carriages. She later rented it out by the day for workers to park who worked in downtown Newark.


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