"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Thursday, October 19, 2017

the heart garden at the old Episcopal church

Wandering around St. John's Reformed Episcopal church, you feel like you are transported into a fairy tale. From the red roof to the weathered stones and intricate and fancy iron work, this place seems from another time.

The little church used to be known as the Anson Street Chapel. It was built in 1850 for black Presbyterians. About ten years later, it became St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church. Because it had so many Irish members, it was called "the church of the Irish".

it was badly damaged during the War and re-built around 1883. The church closed in the mid 1960s, due to low attendance. In 1971, St. John's Reformed Episcopal bought the church, restored it, and used it.

We walked around back, saw gates, and expected an old church graveyard, so common in our city. Instead we came upon these beautiful gates with crosses and hearts on them. They were designed by Philip Simmons and prepared by his apprentices in 1991. The garden is in his honor.

Beautiful entrance to Philip Simmons Park, dedicated 1991

Mr. Simmons was a Master blacksmith, and his beautiful and interesting works are all over our city, and I admire them all the time. He was born in 1912 on Daniel Island--then a small fishing community-- and his career was almost eighty years long.

What an artisan he was!--hundreds of examples of his work can be seen throughout Charleston, and all over South Carolina, primarily on the big beautiful gates, as well as numerous fences, window grilles, and balconies.

If you look closely, you can see a heart topiary in the middle, towards the back. Mr. Front Porch caught a glimpse of a flash of bright red.....

and this was the only picture I got of it before it fluttered away.

Mr. Simmons designed, made, repaired hundreds of pieces of ornamental ironwork and he has pieces on display in the Smithsonian.

What a beautiful pathway!

Hearts, roses, and angels

Philip was raised by his grandpa and grandma. Around 1920 he came to live with his mother in Charleston, on Vernon Street. He was very interested in the craftspeople in their neighborhood and dropped out of school young to become an apprentice to a smithy named Peter Simmons, who was no relation. Peter was a former slave and took on young Philip for a five year apprenticeship. Philip became a full blacksmith when he was eighteen years old. Back in those days, blacksmiths made mostly practical things, such as horse shoes, tools, and fireplace pokers, and repaired wagon wheels and plows.
In the 1940s, Philip crafted his very first fancy ornate gate for a customer, using scarp iron because of the iron shortage from World War 2. The customer was very pleased with his work and placed many more orders, beginning Philip's long and successful career. 

What a quiet and peaceful park, dedicated to one of the world's most renowned Master Blacksmiths

Decades of history captured in this wood and these old weathered bricks

Mr. Simmons was a member of St. John's Reformed Episcopal church and this was his boyhood church. He designed the gate with hearts because "church is where the heart is". Mr. Simmons passed away in 2009, at the age of 97.

During an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony Mr. Simmons said .....
"my instrument is an anvil. I guess some of you have heard me play...a tune on the anvil, the old blacksmith tune....I'm proud of that anvil, really proud....that anvil fed me when I was hungry and that anvil clothed me when I was naked. That anvil put shoes on my feet. "


Wednesday, October 18, 2017


After church on Sunday, we had brunch at Fuel. Yes, it used to be a "filling station"! LOL

Pretty wall mural!

The "ho-cakes" were yummy! Fried corn fritters with onions, peppers, corn and cheese

There were also burgers, salads, sweet potato fries, and omelettes

We ate outdoors, on the patio. It was nice

I liked looking at the old vintage gas pumps! Fun!

Lots of friendly pups here!

After a long Sunday afternoon nap, we took a nice Sunday drive.
More churches:

pretty stained glass at this one!

Love the ghost sign!--Co-Cola and Village Grocery maybe?

Fall reading:

How I love a good mail day!! This was a couple days worth.

I bought this fun little book last month--it folds out and has the pictures of the butterflies on one side, and information on them on the back side.

Butterflies we've been seeing around our garden

Have you seen the new Pioneer Woman magazine?
It has really pretty pictures in it!

Decorating, food, fashion, recipes, etc.
oooo--I want this scarf! Isn't it pretty?

Ending this post with a picture of these beautiful purple berries I saw in the park! I think they're called "beauty berries"? Thanks for stopping by and hope everybody is having a great week!