It’s hard to underestimate the influence of Robert Daniell…. colonial era figure the Island was named after. But it’s just as difficult to underestimate the influence of Philp Simmons, famed ironworker whose gates and other art are Lowcountry legends. Philip Simmons was born on Daniel Island in 1912 and was raised by his grandparents before he was sent to Charleston in 1920 to live with his mother.
He took an interest in the craftspeople in his neighborhood — particularly the work of Peter Simmons (no relation), who ran a smithy in downtown Charleston. After a five-year apprenticeship, Philip Simmons became a full blacksmith and started doing ornamental ironwork. His work is still universally recognized in Charleston. Throughout his career he created more than 500 separate pieces including iron balconies, window grilles, fences, and gates.
Simmons legacy lives on here on the Island with a major park and a large apartment complex bearing his name. In addition, three Berkeley County schools bear his name…all just a bit up Clements Ferry Road in the Cainhoy area.
The links below show some of the impact Simmons has had on our community and share more of his personal life. Most of the articles linked to include photographs illustrating his legacy and contain links to more information about this local legend. Many of the blog links show his ongoing influence on local children, in part because of programs sponsored by DIHS and made possible, in part, through your DIHS dues.
There’s A LOT of information in these links, but take your time. History is worth the effort.
Keeper of the Gate Lowcountry Digital History Initiative
Philip Simmons Ironwork in Charleston Free Tours By Foot website
Celebrating Philip Simmons DIHS website blog February 26, 2020
Philip Simmons Birthday DIHS website blog June 8, 2019
Philip Simmons Middle School Art Show and Band Concert DIHS website blog May 24, 2019
Daniel Island School Does Fifth Annual Philip Simmons Art Show DIHS website blog April 19, 2018
Art Show At Philip Simmons Middle School DIHS website blog May 30, 2017
Art, Theatre and More at Philip Simmons Middle School DIHS website blog May 20, 2017
Philip Simmons Art Shows Front and Center at DIS And PSMS DIHS website blogMay 2, 2017.
Cainhoy Third Graders Create Simmons “Gates” DIHS website blog May 23, 2018
Simmons H.S. Football Players Clean up Cainhoy’s “Old Ruins” Cemetery DIHS website blog May 21, 2018
The Spirit of Philp Simmons Lives On at Daniel Island School DIHS website blog March 24, 2016
Cainhoy School Art Show A Big Success DIHS website blog May 7, 2019.
Reaching Out To Area Kids DIHS website blog May 21, 2019