If you have ever traveled I-85 through South Carolina between exits 90 and 92, then you undoubtedly have seen The Peach. It’s a bit hard to miss. Since the 1980’s this majestic water tower has graced the sky above Gaffney with its presence rising above the trees and causing more than a few motorists to wonder if maybe they have been behind the wheel just a bit too long. However, if you’re not from around here, then you may remember it from Season 1 Episode 3 of Netflix House of Cards as Frank Underwood dealt with a death in his district attributed to The Peach.
The original paint job was the artistic endeavor of Peter Freudenberg. After studying many a local peach, he climbed into the bucket of a bucket truck and rising 13 stories in the air using 50 gallons of paint in 20 colors mixing the colors as he went, turned the large steel sphere into what he felt was the perfect rendition of a Carolina peach. Good enough to call to mind the feel of the fuzzy skin and the sticky sweet peach juice dripping down your arms on a hot summer’s day.
As the textile industry was winding down, the Powers That Be in Gaffney decided the town needed a new identity and what better way to represent South Carolina’s top producing peach region than a giant peach. After all, in those days South Carolina was producing more peaches than the neighboring Peach State – aka Georgia. Over the years, the Peach has brought not only local and regional fame but national and international recognition as well. In the 2006 Reader’s Digest America’s 100 Best, The Peach was listed in the Adventures section and according to RoadsideAmerica.com, it was listed as Steel Tank of the Year in 1981.
Recently, folks were concerned that The Peach had fallen out of favor and was in the process of going the way of so many other relics from our past. But it’s not going anywhere, it was only being prepped for a facelift. All of the old paint had to go courtesy of sandblasting, then the tank had to be primed and then, Eric Hinn with a 6-inch roller and 55 gallons of paint in 16 colors set about bringing The Peach back to life.
So with The Peach in mind, we headed to Gaffney on our most recent picking adventure. However, we never laid eyes on The Peach. What we found instead was Black Horse Antique Warehouse on Frederick Street. As luck would have it, Brenda Earls was in the midst of preparations for a 4th of July celebration, which fortunately for us started on the 3rd. Cookies, snacks and drinks were provided for shoppers as well as special 4th of July sale prices. What more could we ask for, a winning lottery ticket, maybe?
Black Horse Antiques is located in a beautiful old brick building, which originally housed a mercantile. There are original hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. From the four upstairs windows you can look out over downtown Gaffney. I half expected a parade complete with a marching band to pass by in the street below. Light also streams in through the huge showcase double windows on either side of the front door downstairs as well giving this 10,000 square foot store a cozy inviting atmosphere. They have everything from china, to toys, jewelry, clothes, furniture and everything in between.
Asking about other shops in the area as we were checking out, David directed us to Pieces From The Past Antiques on North Limestone Street. Here, we found owner, Gayle White, researching some interesting items and my first MIOJ shelf sitter. We would have stayed longer, but we wanted to do some visiting in Spartanburg before we headed back home. The peach sighting would have to wait for another day.