GAFFNEY, SC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) — A beloved and often frequently lampooned giant peach-shaped water tower in Gaffney, South Carolina, is now surrounded by a 6-foot-tall fence, topped by barbed wire.
Fans were apparently loving their moment under the Peachoid a little too much.
The Gaffney Board of Public Works says a black chain-link fence was put up earlier this month after a round of nighttime vandalism at the water tower along Interstate 85, reports WLTX. The fence is about 150 feet away from the base of the structure and cost $14,000, media outlets report.
Fans of the water tower's unique shape – which has also been likened to a baby's butt – were carving their initials in the base or spray painting it on, Public Works General Manager Donnie Hardin told media outlets.
The company that helps maintain the Peachoid, Southern Corrosion, has had to clean off graffiti and repair other damages at least every other month, reported GoUpState.com. Some vandals were even climbing the ladder in an attempt to reach the peach.
"It's just sad that we had to do this because of vandalism," Hardin told GoUpState.com. "I told the board we had to do something."
The tower is 135 feet tall and has become a popular spot for tourists along Interstate 85 to stop and take photos. Its fans were immediately perturbed at the news.
"Take the fence down and charge the shell like an electric fence," posted Tony Hodge on Facebook. "The paint will act as an insulator and only those who attempt to scratch through it will be shocked. You could pay for the charger by submitting the footage from the surveillance cameras to 'America's Funnest Videos'."
"Unfortunately, so sad. The vandalism and the fence," posted Jonna Lynn Blackwell Turner on Facebook. "It's a great landmark that represents Gaffney!"
The public will still have access to the Peachoid at specific times, Hardin told GoUpState, and a three-space parking lot near the water tower was recently constructed. Visitors can park and walk through an unlocked gate. The gate will be locked at night, reported GoUpState.
Created in 1981 at a cost of $950,000, the tower was intended as a tribute to the large peach farming community in the area.