Unsuspecting motorists traveling along I-85 between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, are greeted by the “South’s Most Famous Water Tower” rising high above the Appalachian foothills in Gaffney, South Carolina, a 135 ft. tall giant peach named “Peachoid”.
Built of steel and concrete in 1981 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, the massive structure’s purpose is to store more than a million gallons (3.78 million liters) of water at an elevated level for the city’s public works department.
With a population of 12,597 people, Gaffney is known as the “Peach Capital of South Carolina” and when it came time to decorate their newly commissioned water tower, local leaders knew exactly what message they wished to send to the thousands of motorists passing by each day — that South Carolina, not Georgia, is truly the “Peach State”, as the Palmetto State produces roughly double the number of peaches annually than neighboring Georgia — at one time, Cherokee County alone, where Gaffney is located, produced more peaches per year than the entire state of Georgia.
After the tower was constructed, an overlay stem and leaf were laid across the water tower’s structure and an enormous “cleft” was created with steel paneling. Peter Freudenberg, an artist who worked with macro-art, painted the tower to realistically resemble a peach.
Peachoid was met with mixed reviews from locals whose reactions ranged from local pride to others who still refer to the water tower as “The Giant Butt in the Sky”.
Gaffney’s giant Peachoid has a smaller cousin living in Clanton, Alabama, which holds only 500,000 gallons of water, but is almost identical in appearance to the Palmetto State’s, ehem, we mean, the “Peach State’s” tower.
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