Somerton – A Hidden Gem in Philadelphia

Somerton, located in the Far Northeast section of Philadelphia, is a vibrant neighborhood with a rich history and a diverse community. Bordered by Red Lion Road, Roosevelt Boulevard, East County Line Road, and the Philadelphia County/Montgomery County line, Somerton is known for its picturesque streets, charming homes, and a growing population of foreign-born residents. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Somerton, explore its various neighborhoods and subdivisions, highlight notable people who call this neighborhood home, and discuss the educational institutions and libraries that serve the community.


A Brief History of Somerton

Originally known as Smithfield, Somerton was a village in Moreland Township, Philadelphia County. The area was named after Jacob Sommer, a prominent resident whose family had deep roots in the community. The name “Somerton” first appeared when the local post office was established in 1830, although some maps still referred to it as “Smithfield or Somerton” in the 1840s. By the 1850s, the name Somerton became the sole designation for the area.

Neighborhoods and Subdivisions in Somerton

Somerton is comprised of several distinct neighborhoods and subdivisions, each with its own unique character and charm. Let’s take a closer look at some of these areas:

Old Somerton

Situated north of Byberry Road, Old Somerton is characterized by a mix of older pre-1900 homes and newer, mid-sized houses. The neighborhood boasts a sense of history and offers a picturesque setting for residents.


Londontown is a small section of Somerton located between the Short Line train tracks on Southampton Road and Carter Road. With its quaint streets and cozy homes, Londontown adds to the overall charm of the neighborhood.

Tudor Village

To the west of Southampton Road, west of the train tracks, and east of Worthington Road lies Tudor Village. Uno Kallaste, an Estonian resident, played a significant role in constructing many of the houses in this area. Streets in Tudor Village bear the names of his family members, paying tribute to their lasting impact on the community.

Lumar Park and Somerton Terrace

Lumar Park, built in the early 1950s, is located one mile south of Somerton, west of Bustleton Ave, and north of Tomlinson Rd. Somerton Terrace, situated just south of Lumar Park, was built in the early 1950s and offers a range of attractive homes. The upper end blocks of Selma and Burgess Streets also feature homes dating back to the 1920s.

Brentwood and Lorraine Gardens

Brentwood, constructed in the late 1950s, lies east of Bustleton Avenue, south of the proposed Woodhaven Road, and north of Lorraine Gardens. Lorraine Gardens, built at the same time, is located north of Tomlinson Road and east of Bustleton Avenue. Both neighborhoods offer a mix of well-built homes and a welcoming atmosphere.


Built in the late 1960s, Westwood is an area located south and west of the intersection of Bustleton and Byberry Roads. With its well-maintained properties and tree-lined streets, Westwood is a highly sought-after neighborhood within Somerton.

Philmont Heights

Constructed in the early 1970s, Philmont Heights is generally located south and west of Lumar Park. This area was developed from the farms of Isidore Strittmuller and George Snyder. Philmont Heights offers a range of housing options and a strong sense of community.

Camelot and Georgetown

Camelot is a charming subdivision situated north and west of Red Lion Road and Haldeman Ave. It offers a mix of homes and a peaceful atmosphere. Georgetown, on the other hand, is located on the north side of Tomlinson Road, west of the Somerton Tank farm. The Georgetown twins, built in the late 1960s, are much larger in size compared to the twins or duplexes found in Philmont Heights.


Built in 1986, Timberwalk is a neighborhood located east of George Washington High School. This community offers a range of housing options and a convenient location near various amenities.

Somerton Tank Farms and The Budd Company’s Airstrip

Somerton is also home to Philadelphia’s Somerton Tank Farms, an urban farming experiment that began in the 1950s. The Budd Company’s Airstrip, which operated until the early 1960s, was located south and west of the Somerton Tank Farm. The runways of the airstrip were decommissioned to prevent illegal racing activities and the abandonment of stolen cars.

Philadelphia State Hospital

From the early 1900s until its decommissioning in the late 1980s through the 1990s, the Philadelphia State Hospital was situated at the northwestern corner of Roosevelt Blvd. and Southampton Road. The hospital played a significant role in the community, providing care and support to those in need.

Notable People from Somerton

Somerton has been home to many notable individuals who have made their mark in various fields. Here are a few individuals who have called Somerton home:

  • William Cooper: A respected judge and the father of James Fenimore Cooper, a prominent American writer.
  • Chris Matthews: A well-known television personality and former host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.
  • Robert Moffit: An esteemed analyst at The Heritage Foundation, a renowned think tank.
  • Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: A New York Times best-selling non-fiction writer and poet known for her insightful works.