Preserving the art of ironwork and Charleston history
The Citadel and College of the Building Arts collaborate on preservation effort
The Citadel and the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) have collaborated to preserve the art of iron working and foster continued appreciation for Charleston history.
Student blacksmith Drew Reynolds hangs the sword gate panels at Johnson Hagood Stadium at The Citadel with the help of Josh Kean, a second year iron student. Photo courtesy of American School of the Building Arts
Two decorative sword gates now hang on the pedestrian plaza at Johnson Hagood Stadium in honor of the Class of 1962. Created by ACBA recent graduate Drew Reynolds, the sword gate panels have been produced in image and the same fashion as the 1838 originals that adorn the entry to the Sword Gate House at 32 Legare St., in downtown Charleston. They also are reminiscent of other iron sword gates on The Citadel campus and window grills at the original Citadel on Marion Square.
"We were extremely pleased to collaborate with The Citadel on this project," said retired Lt. Gen. Colby M. Broadwater III, president of ACBA and Citadel Class of 1972. "We think the evocative design complements the existing examples of wrought iron on campus and demonstrates that superb craftsmanship is alive and thriving in Charleston."
The stadium sword gate panels measure approximately 5 feet by 5.5 feet and were handmade using traditional techniques – hand-hammered iron, rivets, collars and forge welding. Reynolds, 23, has been working with metals for eight years. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., he majored in forged architectural metals at ACBA.
The American College of the Building Arts is the only college that awards a bachelor's of applied science in one of six trade majors within the traditional building arts: architectural stone carving, carpentry, forged architectural ironwork, preservation masonry, plaster working, or timber framing.
The sword gate ironwork is also located at Lesesne Gate, the main entrance to campus; the Summerall Gate connecting the campus to Hampton Park, and behind Grimsley Hall.
The Class of 1962 will dedicate the gates and the stadium plaza at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, November 2, as part of The Citadel's Homecoming festivities. Celebrating its 50th reunion this year, the Class of 1962 exceeded its $3 million reunion campaign goal by raising more than $5.1 million, including the $1.1 million to name the stadium plaza in memory of deceased classmates.
Through this gift, the Class of 1962 has made possible the landscaping and streetscape work along Hagood Avenue in front of the football stadium. The stadium plaza beautification project, including the construction and installation of the sword gate panels, cost approximately $100,000, leaving the balance of the Class of 1962's generous gift to support the greatest needs of the college.
"As part of the Class of 1962 Plaza at Johnson Hagood Stadium, the sword gate panels provide an evocative physical illustration of The Citadel's vital link to the Charleston community and its extraordinary history," said Laura Jordan, director of Class Reunion Campaigns at The Citadel Foundation. "This project represents philanthropy at its finest. The Citadel is grateful to the Class of 1962 and the tremendous impact their gift will have on future generations of principled leaders."