Father Pitt

Why should the beautiful die?

Charette Way

Charette Way

This short alley no longer has a street sign, but it still appears on maps as Charette Way, which seems like a peculiar name for an alley.(1)

From OpenStreetMap, licensed under the Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) by the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF).

A “charette” is a term well known to architects: it’s a session of intense work to meet a deadline. Supposedly it comes from the charrette or cart that used to come around to collect the drawings at the French architectural schools, with the students frantically putting the final touches on their work as the cart rumbled along. The magazine of the Pittsburgh Architectural Club for many years was called The Charette.

In 1928, the Pittsburgh Architectural Club got itself club rooms with an entrance on the right-hand side of this tiny alley, and with the aid of some friends in government, Charles Stotz, the club president, managed to have the alley renamed “Charette Way.”

Charette Way, Pittsburgh
Kodak EasyShare Z981.

From the January, 1929, issue of The Charette, we reprint the story of the name.

Charette Way—Number One

New Address of the Club Rooms of the P. A. C.

The passer-by will notice a new street sign marking the little alley leading off Cecil Place.(2) To many the name will mean nothing more than another odd street name. To the few who recognize the French origin of the word it will seem to be quite appropriate with the store trucks constantly entering and leaving the picturesque little street, but for those interested in using the attractive doorway entering off the right side of the alley, the name “Charette Way” has considerable significance. It is a curious fact that the Architectural Club is not only in possession of an ideally central down-town location, but has also been able to christen the alley which it fronts. We direct the attention of the skeptics to the City Ordinance reproduced herewith. The prompt execution of this bit of business is due to the cooperation of Councilman W. Y. English, to whom the Club at its last meeting extended a unanimous vote of thanks.

AN ORDINANCE—Naming an Unnamed Way lying between Penn Avenue and Liberty Avenue and running from Fifth Avenue to The Rosenbaum property line, “Charette Way.”

SECTION 1. Be it ordained and enacted by the City of Pittsburgh, in Council assembled, and it is hereby ordained and enacted by the authority of the same. That an Unnamed Way lying between Penn Avenue and Liberty Avenue and running from Fifth Avenue to The Rosenbaum property line, be and the same is named “Charette Way.”

SECTION 2. That any Ordinance or part of Ordinance conflicting with the provisions of this ordinance be and the same is hereby repealed so are as the same affects this Ordinance.


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