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The Carter House

The Carter House, the current home of the Summit Historical Society, is believed to be the oldest existing building in Summit. Property along the Passaic River, on what is now River Road, was deeded to Benjamin Carter in 1740. He built a cottage on the site in 1741and over the years it was enlarged to its current size. When Benjamin Carter died in 1760 he left nine children. One of those children, Sarah, married John Bonnel and moved into the house and probably carried out the first enlargement of the house. In the mid-1980s, it became known that the founder of a local firm called Aircast, Glenn Johnson, had purchased the circa-1741 structure on River Road and planned to knock it down to construct a commercial building. He was approached by local historians about preserving the house, and agreed to hold off on demolition while they raised the money to move the building about a quarter-mile up the road, onto a parcel of land leased to the volunteers by the city. In 1986 the home was moved to its current location on Butler Parkway. Not only did the late Mr. Johnson donate the house, he also funded a portion of the cost of the move and for the rest of his life remained a staunch friend and supporter of the Summit Historical Society.

Today, the former private-home is fully refurbished. The first floor contains an exhibit room, a Victorian-style library where the shelves are lined with hundreds of local history books, an early 1800s-style dining room, a modern kitchen facility, a Colonial-era kitchen that includes an enormous hearth and bee hive oven. On the second story is a private caretaker's apartment.

The Society has recently added an addition at the rear of the Carter House. In the addition is the May Room that is devoted housing our archives of Summit history. Research facilities, including microfilm equipment, Internet access and an ample research area are available.

For more: "The Carter House: Explore the Possibilities"


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90 Butler Parkway, Summit, NJ 07901 • (908) 277-1747