Colonial National Historical Park | SOMERWELL HOUSE

Somerwell House

Somerwell House

See the Historical Buildings of Yorktown web page for a map of the historical area.

The date and origin of the Somerwell House is not known for certain. It is named for Mungo Somerwell, of whom very little is known other than he owned the property in the first decade of the 1700s. When Somerwell died in 1707, his estate included a house.

In 1716, the property was purchased by Philip Lightfoot, and the house on the lot became known as the Lightfoot House. It is possible that Lightfoot built it. However, so many renovations have been done over the years that it is now nearly impossible to figure out the correct construction date. The National Park Service has chosen to go with the name of the original property owner, though that seems to acknowledge a construction date of between 1700 and 1707, making it the oldest house in Yorktown. Oddly enough, the house is never mentioned in a list of the oldest houses, and most people consider it to have been built around 1720, making it the Lightfoot House.

The Somerwell House was purchased and renovated back to its 1700s appearance by the National Park Service in the 1930s. When acquired, it had been extensively altered, particularly during the Civil War when it was used as a hospital. The NPS initially used the building for a visitor center and park headquarters. Today it is still owned by the NPS, but used a rental property.

Back to the Top

Last updated on April 6, 2020
Share this article