Coventry Roots: Summit

The thirteenth village in our series of the villages of Coventry is Summit. This village is located between the watersheds of the Flat River and the Moosup River. The area where the village is located today was known as Perry Hollow in the 18th century.

Like the village of , the railroad brought this village into being.  The name Summit came about when the Providence, Hartford and Fishkill railroad was laid out because the village was located at the top of a ridge. The village consisted of a saw mill, grist mill, blacksmith shop, comb factory, depot, church, library and seven houses. The railroad company built a depot along the south side of the rail line and a storehouse along the north side. 

Giles M. Nichols moved into the village with his family and established a store, and with the arrival of the railroad, served as the railroad agent. The Summit General Store today sits near the site of the storehouse.    

In 1860 the village was home to Alfred K. Cornell, who was an Ambrotypist. Two other industries that operated in this village, that are probably foreign to most of modern society, were basket manufacturing and a comb factory. The combs manufactured here were made of horn or shell and used as hair decorations and to comb ones hair.    

The original Summit Baptist Church located at 12 Old Summit Road was constructed in 1865 and people worshiped there until the new church was constructed at 1176 Victory Highway in Coventry. 

The villagers of Summit were believers in education. The village consisted of The Summit School District Number 7 and the school was located along Weeks Hill Road. 

In 1891 a group of forty residents gathered together and formed the Summit Free Library Association. At first this group did not have a central meeting place but eventually this group met in Nixon Hall, which had been constructed by Nichols. In 1902 the cost to be a member of the Association was 50 cents and the library already contained 2000 books. This association met in this building until 2000 when they sold it to the town of Coventry.

Today the depot is gone but the village is now home to the Summit General Store and the Coventry Historical Society Museum. The museum is located in Nixon Hall.


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