I agree with the author of this article that Chatham Village is indeed a paradoxical place. Most people that I mention this architectural gem to, have never heard of it before and have no idea where it is. However, to those who seek it out, it is a beautiful enclave to behold. On one hand, I prefer that Chatham Village remain one of Pittsburgh's best kept secrets, on the other, it is sad that more people don't know about this unique and special place.
I initially found out about Chatham Village as a curious teenager perusing the reference section of my high school library back in the late 1970s. There was a copy of a pamphlet about Chatham Village and also an article about it that had been removed from an "Architecturel Record" magazine covering the story of its development and opening back in the 1930s. I remember being absolutely mesmerized by its charm and beauty just from reading about it and seeing it in photographs. I just knew that I had to see it in person and eventually did in the early 1980s after acquiring my first car. I found my way to Mt. Washington and parked my car just outside the perimeter of Chatham Village and then I spent a couple of hours canvassing the verdant environs of this oasis. I was captivated by the understated elegance of the Georgian architecture and how the architects and developers had beautifully ensconced these townhomes into the landscape. I returned several more times to visit Chatham Village over the years and the residents never seemed to mind.
Eventually I was able to see the inside of these lovely homes when I attended a tour and lecture about Chatham Village given by Mr. David Vater, an architect and longtime resident of this community. Over the years Mr. Vater has done several of these tours and I have attended most of them. I can never get enough of seeing it and would love to live there someday.
I am astonished at how well preserved Chatham Village is after 80 years. A vigorous adherence to yearly maintenance and the quality of materials it is constructed of, have been instrumental in maintaining the original exterior appearance of Chatham Village. Angelique Bamberg explores this and more in her fascinating new book. Of course I have a copy of my very own and will always cherish it. It has a special place in my architectural library. Thank you, Ms. Bamberg, for this fine book.
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