At a railroad division point for two branches of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad, this city is named for the railroad's first president. Settlers arrived soon after the town was surveyed in 1883. Development increased after the establishment of a railroad tie plant in the 1890s. The city is a trade center for surrounding agricultural areas and a gateway to the huge Somerville Reservoir. There are four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks, one city park and two state parks around the lake. Big Creek and Yegua Creek parks have a half-mile-long nature trail.
Somerville lies on Texas 36, a segment of the Ports-to-Plains Highway connecting the state's heartland to coastal ports.
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