Roots Building 2

Roots Building, Springfield Avenue, Summit, NJ. Gawd this is boring alt text.

I discussed the Roots Building in an earlier post, but… let’s talk more about it! Who doesn’t love local architectural history, come on.

Roots Building, c.1893, in progress

In 1893, William C. Risk decided it woud be a good place to put a proper post office for Summit, and he bought the lot on Springfield Avenue. The first half of the building (which later became the “right side”) was built in 1894 by Charles E. Dodd, Mason and Builder (according to the photo above). The post office used this portion until 1910.

Roots Building, c.1910?

The second half (i.e. the left side), shown above, wasn’t completed until 1900. Because the post office already had its own space, the ground floor was occupied by a grocery store.

After the post office had moved out of the right side, the First National Bank moved in, in 1911.

(And if you’re wondering what was going on on the other floors, “from 1898 to 1927, the local telephone exchange’s ‘Central’ girls had their manually operated switchboard in a room at the rear of the second floor” [Summit Historical Society, 1978, p. 60]. So this is where the Summit phone operators operated!)

In 1923, the First National Bank bought the whole building, both right and left sides.

When the bank moved out in 1956, it sold the building to Root’s Mens Shop, which is why it is now known as the “Roots Building.”

After that, I’d just have to cite the last research I did on this, which was a little vague– apparently Perry Root died, and his family didn’t know what to do with the building, so it sat abandoned downtown for five years. Eventually someone bought it and put $3 million worth of renovations into it. It’s currently home to the Roots Steakhouse [website] and a Coldwell Banker real estate office [website].



Flierwire. (2009). “NAI James E. Hanson completes 4000 [square foot] office lease transaction in downtown Summit, New Jersey.”

Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738563307.

NAI James E. Hanson. (n.d.). “Case study: The estate of Perry Root.”

The Summit Historical Society. (1978). Glimpses into Summit’s Past: A Selection of Photographs and Texts Tracing the City’s Growth. Benway, Maxwell, & Smith, Inc.: Chatham, NJ.

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