Keeper of the Gate DVDFlander, David
Keeper of the Gate The Life and Works of Philip Simmons Master Blacksmith
Philip Simmons, now the most celebrated of Charleston ironworkers, was born on near-by Daniel Island in 1912. A Charleston resident since 1919, he attended local schools but received his most important education from local blacksmith Peter Simmons, who ran a busy shop at the foot of Calhoun Street. Here he acquired the values and refined the talents that would sustain him throughout his long metalworking career.
Moving into the specialized field of ornamental iron in 1938 , Simmons fashioned more that two hundred decorative pieces of ornamental wrought iron: gates, fences, balconies, and window grills. The city of Charleston is truly decorated from end to end by his hand.
In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him its National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor that the United States can bestow on a traditional artist.
John Michael Vlach, author, Charleston Blacksmith: The Work of Philip Simmons
Pieces of his work were acquired as well by the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 1995 Emmy Award
The video tape first aired on NBC in Charleston, 7:30 pm on June 9, 1994, the 82nd birthday of Philip Simmons.