East Somerville was originally a farming community featuring numerous cow pastures that were used by residents of Charlestown. After separating from Charlestown, and with the development of bridges, roads and rail transportation, the area became popular with Boston residents as a bucolic retreat from the hectic pace and stresses of city life. The neighborhood is one of Somerville's oldest, and today, it is one of Somerville's most densely populated areas as well.
The approximate geographic boundaries of East Somerville are east of McGrath from Broadway to Washington. East Somerville stretches to the northernmost border of Boston, making access to downtown Boston and Bunker Hill very convenient.
During the middle decades of the 19th century, East Somerville underwent extensive urban development. In keeping with the times, many of the buildings were designed with features of Italian and Greek revival architecture. There are still many extant examples of these architectural styles, but many single-family homes have been subdivided over the years. The neighborhood has several locations appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Samuel Ireland House, the Charles Williams House and the Daniel Worthen House.
Several bus routes pass through East Somerville, as well as the Orange Line in nearby Sullivan Square, and the Orange Line in Assembly Square.