On our last adventure day in South Carolina, Tom and I went to the Outlet Mall in Gaffney, South Carolina. Going to the Outlet Mall doesn’t sound very exciting, but I hate to clothes shop and I really needed some new things. We found everything on my list which was pretty amazing. We also stopped by to check out the Peachoid which was one exit away from the Outlet Mall.
The Peachoid is Gaffney’s water tower. Although Georgia would have you believe it is the peach state, South Carolina produces more peaches annually than any other state. The peach was originally brought to the area by Spanish explorers in the 1500’s. By the time English settlers reached the area, peach trees were so abundant, the English thought they were indigenous. In the 1920’s, cotton farmers, whose crops were destroyed by the boll weevil, converted to peach orchards. Today, South Carolina produces 60,000 tons of peaches every year.
Gaffney is the “Peach Capital of South Carolina” and hosts the South Carolina Peach Festival every year over three weekends in July. There is a tractor pull, games, rides, vendors, a BBQ cookoff, and concerts every night. I read one review that was disappointed there wasn’t more peach stuff at the festival. But you can find plenty of peach things at nearby Abbott Farms. Abbott Farms sell fresh peaches (in the summer), peach preserves, brandied peaches, peach bread, peach syrup, peach cider, peach hot sauce, peach ice cream, and a variety of other items made from things that aren’t peaches. You can order most of these things on their website.
Thus, the Peachoid was a natural when the town of Gaffney decided to build a new water tower in 1981. They made it peach-shaped and painted it to look like a peach. You can see it from I-85 and I guess it caused some accidents (people thought it was a giant butt) until they repainted it to look more peachy. It is topped with a seven ton, 60 foot leaf. In 1981 it won the “Steel Tank of the Year” award from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association. The Peachoid has been featured on Roadside America. If you search on the internet for the most interesting water towers in the world, the Peachoid will come up on every list. It has even been featured in an episode of “House of Cards.”
The Peachoid literature states boldly that the Peachoid “sets the record straight about which state is the biggest peach producer in the South. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT Georgia.” Definitely worth a stop if you are traveling on I-85 through South Carolina.