Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charleston Ironwork

The city of Charleston is known for its historic iron gates and doorways leading into ornamental gardens. This work was first done by slaves trained as blacksmiths in the 18th and 19th centuries. After the Civil War, freedmen continued to produce ironwork for the city. During the Charleston Renaissance in the 1920s, there was a movement to preserve the old houses, buildings, and gardens of Charleston. Blacksmiths played an important role in restoring the iron gates and doors in the city. Perhaps the most famous blacksmith in Charleston was Philip Simmons (1912-2009), who mastered not only the trade of ornamental ironwork, but was also able to replicate the historic designs that had been damaged over time. He even replaced some of the ironwork on the portico of Drayton Hall.

Below are some photos taken of ironwork designs downtown Charleston around the Battery neighborhood:

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