Just two years after the Gaffney Peachoid was completely stripped and repainted for the first time ever, the Cherokee County landmark is getting yet another new coat of paint.
Gaffney Board of Public Works officials wanted the water tank to look more like a ripened peach, said Kim Fortner, the agency’s operations engineer and assistant manager.
“The colors weren’t blended to look like a peach and the tank up top wasn’t painted at all,” Fortner said. “The final product didn’t have the appearance it needed to have.”
Fortner said a long-term contract for care and maintenance of the water tanks the board owns and operates was transferred this year from the company that did the 2015 work to Southern Corrosion, a water tank care company based in North Carolina.
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So the new paint job for the Peachoid won’t cost the Board of Public Works or taxpayers anything extra, she said
“It’s (money) just going to a different place,” she said.
The contract is for a quarterly fee of about $18,000, Fortner said. That adds up to about $72,000 a year.
In 2015, all the paint on the Peachoid was sandblasted away, leaving a metallic silver sphere hovering above Interstate 85. It was the first time the peach had ever been stripped of its orange and yellow colors.
The new painting project is being supervised by Peter Fruedenberg, the artist who originally painted the Peachoid in 1981.
“It’s sort of my final performance on the peach tank, so we wanted to make it different,” he said. “For a swan song, it’s kind of a neat thing to do.”
Freudenberg turns 74 next month, so this paint job will likely be his last major project, he said.
“It was surprising. I had to go back into training,” he said. “I had to start working out again and stuff. It takes a lot just to be out there all day, doing all that. I might need oxygen in another couple of days.”
Wanting the Peachoid to look more like a ripe peach is at least in part due to the increased attention it has received since the the Netflix series “House of Cards” debuted.
Francis Underwood, the character played by Kevin Spacey, starts the series as a congressman from Gaffney, and the Peachoid appears in an early episode.
Fortner said the hit show, currently in its fifth season on Netflix, has given the landmark newfound fame.
“It has upped its recognition among a new generation maybe, but it has always been pretty iconic,” she said. “With the popularity of Netflix and ‘House of Cards,’ it has kind of captured the attention of a new generation.”
Painting at the Peachoid is expected to last about two weeks, weather permitting, Fortner said.
When it’s complete, the Peachoid should have a darker hue, more like a real peach.
Freudenberg said up close, the landmark will have an abstract sort of look that won’t be apparent to drivers.
“It’s sort of a theatrical look. It won’t look like a peach when you’re standing right next to it,” he said. “It’ll be a colorful pattern with a lot of pixels, but from further away, it’ll look good. Everything will come together from a little bit farther away.”