Peter Steck was born in 1948 in Malden, Massachusetts. After spending his early childhood in Massachusetts, his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He went to school at Saint Mary’s and Marquette High School.
After graduation from high school in 1966, he attended Marquette University, where he became interested in city planning. In 1970, he graduated from Marquette University. He attended graduate school at Rutgers, earning a master's degree in city and regional planning. Near the end of graduate school, he got a job at a consulting firm in Trenton, New Jersey and worked there for close to a year, before he found his next job as the assistant planner of Montclair.
It was during this time that, while looking for housing in Montclair, he was able to find a place to live at Kip’s Castle. During his time living at the castle, he had interactions with many of the castle’s residents, including John Donnelly and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his following. Eventually, he became the planning director of Montclair. In 1990, he became a private consultant in Maplewood.
This interview was made possible in part through a grant ROHA received from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.