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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

What's in a name?

The name Charrette is deeply rooted in the 1794-95 Missouri River expedition of Jean Baptiste Trudeau's. The title page of his journal documents, shown above, were edited and translated from the original French and published by the American Historical Society in 1913-14, Volume 19: 299-333. This document, like hundreds upon hundreds of others was acquired via interlibrary loans, this one from the University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo, to conduct the necessary research on La Charrette Village.

Joseph Chorett drowned while swimming nearby when serving on this fur trading expedition led by Jean Baptiste Trudeau, the first schoolmaster of St. Louis. (Tudeau's St. Louis home site is enshrined to honor his contributions to education as explained at the title link). The creek that took Chorett's life soon acquired his name. Chorette's Creek later became rendered as Charrette Creek. In French, la charette designates 'the cart' like the all wooden two-wheeled ones used at La Charrette Village. The exact progression from these two words to La Charrette is lost in obscurity, yet the name lives on in addition to several local landmarks. But over the past 200-years other imaginative spellings include Charette, Cherrette, Charet, Choritte, among others.
Today a conference room, as part of the Missouri State Capital Building complex in Jefferson City, is designated as La Charrette. And see the RailCruise America Charrette Creek party car at http://www.event-solutions.com/articles/2002-08-coverstory5.html A local winery even commissioned a 'highly recommended' Missouri Semi-Sweet Light wine as La Charrette in 2003. Order a case from Mark in Dutzow at http://www.blumenhof.com, and when you visit, tell him "Howdy" for me. Today the word 'Charrette' is most prominately used to represents the architectural concept of planned community development derived from shared ideas. Like tossing one's hat into the ring, in this case ideas are tossed into a cart for planning the development of a Charrette Community. "Miserable" "poverty stricken" La Charrette villagers probably participated in a similiar exercise as all of their homes were in a little cluster close to Charrette Landing. This, inspite of their large land grants averaging about 800 acres each, and whatever planning might have preceeded the village, it failed.


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