At a railroad division point for the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroads, this city is named for the railroad's first president. Settlers arrived soon after the town was surveyed in 1883. The city is a trade center for surrounding agricultural areas and a gateway to Somerville Lake. 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.