Publish Date

Glenn Massie sits at a desk with the book he illustrated on display in front of him.

FTCC instructor Glenn Massie created illustrations for a book about the Charleston Lighthouse by Kevin P. Duffus. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Glenn Massie discovered his interest in architectural design early, excited by the blend of creativity and technical detail when he was still a high school student.

Some 25 years later, Massie had the opportunity to work on a project that combined his love of creating, realistic detail, and history.

Massie partnered with author Kevin P. Duffus on the latter’s book The 1768 Charleston Lighthouse: Finding the Light in the Fog of History. Massie created the cover art and multiple illustrations for the book about the historic South Carolina lighthouse, which is thought to be the first built in the southeast.

Massie, an instructor in FTCC’s Architectural Technology program, connected with Duffus after the author visited campus to deliver a history lecture last spring.

Due to the lighthouse’s singular history, Duffus faced a challenge when it came to the visual aspect of the book.

The cover of "The 1768 Charleston Lighthouse: Finding the Light in the Fog of History" features a color rendering created by FTCC instructor Glenn Massie. [Photo by Brad Losh]

The cover of “The 1768 Charleston Lighthouse: Finding the Light in the Fog of History” features a color rendering created by FTCC instructor Glenn Massie. [Photo by Brad Losh]

According to Duffus’ research, the Charleston Lighthouse was completed in 1768, destroyed in 1861 during the Civil War and then rebuilt in 1876 as the Morris Island Lighthouse, which still stands today, albeit precariously as it is threatened by erosion.

No original blueprints exist for the Charleston Lighthouse. Only one drawing of the original structure has been found, and only one photograph, published in April 1861, shows the remains of the structure after being destroyed in the war.

“Kevin was looking for someone to do illustrations of this lighthouse, because he just didn’t have any,” Massie said. “And we just clicked. It hit two boxes for me — history and my love of drawing technical detail.”

Massie had to work from clues about the lighthouse and similar architectural structures of the time, including St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, which was also built by Charleston Lighthouse designer Samuel Cardy.

The project gave Massie the chance to delve into the creative side of his brain, while staying true to the architectural elements most likely used in the lighthouse’s design.

“I’ve always been drawn to being able to draw things the way they actually are,” Massie said. “And from the creative side of things, I love being able to take something that’s in my head, pull it out and put it on paper and then have someone else see that vision.”

Massie was first introduced to architectural design in high school when he began taking technical drafting classes at E.E. Smith High School. He graduated from FTCC’s Architecture Design Technology program in 2000.

After years working in landscape architecture and civil engineering, he returned to FTCC as a full-time instructor in 2015.

An open book with illustrations on both pages of lighthouses.

One of the illustrations Glenn Massie created for the book can be seen on the right, showing the top landing and lantern room of the Charleston Lighthouse. [Photo by Brad Losh]

Duffus’ book was Massie’s first opportunity to work on a book. He said piecing together the limited information about the lighthouse to create the illustrations was part of the fun.

“We didn’t have a lot to work with, so we had to take a little bit from Column A and a little bit from Column B,” Massie said. “And then I got to use a little artistic creativity and some inspiration from the architect’s other work to put it all together.

“I’m very pleased with it and glad to be a part of it.”