01:00 AM EST on Sunday, December 21, 2008

By Christine Dunn
Journal Staff Writer


This marker at the intersection of Summit Avenue and Memorial Road shows the spot where French troops commanded by Count Rochambeau were encamped in 1782. The area is now part of the Summit neighborhood.

The Providence Journal / Kris Craig


Summit is not a presence on the City of Providence’s official map of neighborhoods, and even leaders of the Summit Neighborhood Association say their group has no formal boundaries defining the area.

But unofficially, this neighborhood near Miriam Hospital includes all of what is called Hope, and parts of Mount Hope and Blackstone, on the city’s East Side. North Main Street and Hope Street are its commercial centers.

Jonathan Howard, vice president of the Summit Neighborhood Association, said that since he moved to Summit 25 years ago, he’s noticed that more families are staying in the neighborhood beyond the time when their children start school.

Howard’s three children attended public schools, and he said the decline in suburban flight has helped strengthen the neighborhood.

It used to be, he said, that “people come here, buy a house, get a dog, have babies… and move out when the kids are 5.”

But today, “I see my neighbors with younger kids getting active in Gregorian, or Martin Luther King [city elementary schools].”

“We really worked hard to get Bishop Middle School preserved and renewed,” he added, and many in the neighborhood are looking forward to the reopening of that school next year.

A diverse mix of ages can be found most mornings at the Seven Stars Bakery at the corner of Hope and Fourth streets, a favored meeting spot in Summit. Parents with babies and toddlers, college students, and older adults fill the tables at the caf? across from the Festival Ballet building on Hope.

Miriam Hospital is the neighborhood’s largest institutional presence, employing about 2,200 people in its buildings in the heart of the residential section of Summit.

More recently the neighborhood association has turned its attention to improving North Main Street.

North Main Street fell into a decline after flagships including Sears, Shaw’s, Window Fashions and Off-Track Bedding closed.

“One of the ideas is around developing North Main into a really useful retail source for the n! eighborh ood,” Howard said.

“It’s been a very vital part of the past for Providence, and it was a much more active street,” he said. There used to be more restaurants, retail activity and entertainment venues, and “our dream is to to try to encourage developers to go that way.”

Another goal is “to get people living on North Main Street,” with the addition of mixed-use development, he added.

“More modest things are happening already,” Howard said. The former Window Fashions store has been taken over by doctors who opened an urgent care center, the old Penalty Box has been fixed up by some young entrepreneurs who have opened a “nice club” that features live entertainment, he said.

In addition, Hope Street merchants have formed an association this year in an effort to make their street a better-known shopping destination.

Summit offers a diverse mix of housing options, including single-family houses, apartment rentals in multifamily houses, owner-occupied multifamily housing, and condominiums and apartment buildings.

Single-family listings in the Summit area last week included a bank-owned house built in 1900 at 70 Woodbine St. in Mount Hope, priced at $146,900, but the lowest-priced non-distressed single-family listing in Summit was a 1940 Cape at 38 5th St., with three bedrooms and two full baths, priced at $289,900. The top price in the single-family listings was a renovated 1902 Colonial at 3 Catalpa Rd., on Summit Hill, with five bedrooms, two full bathrooms and 3,000 square feet of space, priced at $499,000.

Multifamily listings started at $54,900 for a two-family built in 1900 at 89 Knowles St. that has undergone a partial renovation. The listing information said the property needs “completion,” and was to be sold “as is” with a “bank addendum,” indicating the property is a foreclosure.

Non-distressed multifamily listings in the neighborhood started at $329,000, for a two-family at 33 11th St., to $589,000 for a two-family built in 1940 at 207 6th St. that has been “completely renovated,” acco! rding to the listing information.

Prices for condominiums listed for sale in Summit last week started at $104,900 for a bank-owned foreclosure in an 1870 building at 20 7th St., with two bedrooms and one bathroom; the top price was $273,000, for a three-bedroom townhouse built in 2006 at 26 7th St.


(Providence, 2000) 173,618


(East Side of Providence, 2007) $468,075


The North Burial Ground, which borders the west side of North Main Street in Summit, was established in 1700, and it was the city’s first dedicated, common open space.




Categories: General News

1 Comment

Cupecoy · January 8, 2009 at 6:00 am

Excellent entry! I’m been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.


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