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Summit, NJ 07901


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Look! Up in the Sky!

nee dellThe Summit Herald of August 30, 1929 reported that Chatham resident James Shea caused a stir in a speech before the Summit Kiwanis Club. He claimed that the Summit police discriminated against out-of-towners when enforcing traffic laws, but were more lenient with Summit drivers. Chief of Police John Murphy denied the allegation, and cited statistics from the past month showing that 19 Summit drivers had been charged for speeding or reckless driving in the past month, as compared to 5 from Chatham, 2 from Madison, and 1 from Morristown.

Early morning risers in Summit were startled by what seemed to be an especially loud truck, but the noise came not from the road but the sky. The airship Graf Zeppelin, all five engines roaring, flew swiftly over the north part of the city at low altitude, heading towards Manhattan.

The newly-opened Kay Food Shop advertised meat specials: rib roast 38¢/lb., boneless pot roast 42¢/lb., and leg of spring lamb 39¢/lb. Also on special: Maxwell House Coffee 45¢/lb., Campbell's soups 3/25¢, and granulated sugar 53¢/10 lb.

Fans of the Lackawanna baseball league looked forward to a weekend of exciting games, including matches between the Summit Red Sox and the Chatham Howitzers, the Millburn Blues, and the Maplewood Mapes.

The local movie theaters offered Lon Chaney as a railroad engineer in "Thunder" and the famous wonder dog Rin Tin Tin in "Frozen River," a drama about gold hunters in the far north.

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Letters from the Front

chandlerThe Summit Herald of August 23, 1918 published excerpts of letters from Summit boys serving overseas. Sgt. Eugene Burner of the 107th Infantry said that the food was filling, but not as good as at home, and that they ate mostly stew, canned corned beef, bread, and hard tack (jokingly called "dog biscuits"). Since arriving in France, they occasionally bought wine. Lt. Roy Underwood described his Fourth of July in France. He and another American Lieutenant, a liaison officer to the French military, were honored by the inhabitants of a local village. The mayor and other town officials led a procession which included the schoolmaster and his 40 students, dressed in white and carrying flowers. Sgt. Mayer Raskin wrote from "Somewhere in France" that being overseas had taught him the meaning of the true war spirit. All of the day-to-day work work in France was done by women, children, and old men, as all the young men were in uniform. Cecil Garis of the Signal Corps had the honor of hearing a speech given by General Pershing (he could not repeat the details) and felt that they had "Fritz on the run". Cpl. Nicholas Kenny of the 9th Infantry was wounded three times at the front lines. He kept going after the first two injuries, but a leg wound stopped him, and he spent three hours in a shell crater until he was rescued by an American officer escorting German prisoners. The prisoners were ordered to carry Kenny, which they did very carefully.

In order to help the war food supply, the Board of Health decided to allow the keeping of pigs in Summit, provided that the owners obtained licenses, and kept the sties clean. The Food Conservation Committee shared a wheat-saving recipe for rye bread. The Lyric Theatre announced a three-day showing of the photoplay, "To Hell with the Kaiser".

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The Man in Green Pajamas

franklin2The Summit Herald of August 16, 1929 reported that Stanley Van Cise, age 13, won the Union County Boys' tennis singles competition. Van Cise, a member of the Summit Tennis Club, did not lose any sets in the matches which he played over a two-day span at Warinanco Park in Elizabeth.

Summit residents were startled to see a young man walking around the business district wearing a pair of vivid green pajamas. John Hall had been a center on the High School's undefeated 1928 football team. He visited McElgunn's clothing shop, and learned from the owner that he had fine pajamas in stock which were not selling. Mr. McElgunn offered Mr. Hall a free pair of pajamas if he would advertise them by wearing them in public. Mr. Hall accepted the challenge, and attracted quite a lot of attention as he strolled around town, chatted with friends, and stopped into an ice cream shop for a coca-cola.

"The Woman Citizen" column by Anne Gilson urged women to read about the proposed Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation. She suggested that women should not evaluate the tariff based on how it would affect manufacturers or importers, but how it would affect their own household budgets.

The Library has a searchable database of local historical newspapers. Search or browse at: