The Legacy of Charleston Blacksmith Philip Simmons

I remember the day when I met Philip Simmons. At the age of 94, he was still very much involved in the arts community, and that day, he was present to support the American College of the Building Arts.

Simmons passed away June 22, but his legacy and works will continue to inspire future generations. This master blacksmith’s work can be found all over the city, and also at the Smithsonian Museum, the National Museum of American History and the South Carolina State Museum.

His interest in iron work began after moving downtown from Daniel Island. He began an apprenticeship at age 13, and was a full-fledged blacksmith by 18. Over his quarter-century career, over 500 gates, fences, columns, window grills and other works (not including pokers and other tools) were produced. 

Simmons earned the “National Heritage Fellowship” from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982, and received an honorary degree from SC State University in 2006.


Check out some of his work at the following locations in Charleston:

  • The gazebo at the Charleston International Airport
  • Gates outside the Charleston Vistors Center
  • The egret gates at Waterfront Park
  • The Gadsden house gate at 329 East Bay St.
  • The gate at 2 st. Michael’s Alley
  • The railings and window grilles at 45 Meeting St.
  • The heart gates at St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church at 91 Anson St.

Also, check out the wrought iron at Liberty Square and the Philip Simmons Park on Daniel Island to see works designed by him.

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