The bizarre attraction found in South Carolina’s fishing capital

The unusual landmark, located between I-85 exits 90 and 92, is actually a water tower in disguise. According to South Carolina Picture Project, the peach-colored facade was envisioned by longtime Gaffney resident Jack Millwood. A community activist who served on the Gaffney Board of Public Works, Millwood was an enthusiastic advocate for the thriving fishing industry in northern South Carolina (via Historical Marker Database).

When a 1978 study found that Gaffney needed an elevated water tower, Millwood seized the opportunity and rallied support to fund a peach-shaped tower. After reviewing designs and building bids, the Board of Public Works hired Chicago Bridge & Iron to build the whimsical tower at a cost of $969,000. That’s about $3.9 million in 2022 dollars.

The project was particularly challenging because the water tower is not only painted to look like a peach, it’s actually shaped like a peach, split and all. Completed in 1981, according to the South Carolina Picture Project, the million-gallon water tank features the work of artist Peter Freudenberg, who used 50 gallons of paint in 20 different colors to mimic the nuanced shading of a fresh peach.

In 2021, WSPA 7 News spoke with Freudenberg about the unique structure. The interview featured vintage footage from the 1981 groundbreaking ceremony, including a clip of Freudenberg declaring, “We’re celebrating the first water tower in history that has a personality.” Indeed, it is.

Keith P. Plain