Gaffney, South Carolina
Gaffney Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gaffney Commercial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Official seal of Gaffney, South Carolina
"Peach Capital of South Carolina"
Gaffney is located in South Carolina
Location of Gaffney, South Carolina
Coordinates: 35°4′18″N 81°39′00″W / 35.07167°N 81.65000°W / 35.07167; -81.65000
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
 • MayorRandy Moss[1]
 • Total8.71 sq mi (22.55 km2)
 • Land8.68 sq mi (22.49 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
Elevation784 ft (239 m)
 • Total12,764
 • Density1,470.00/sq mi (567.55/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code864
FIPS code45-28060
GNIS feature ID1247855[3]

Gaffney is a city in and the seat of Cherokee County, South Carolina, United States,[5] in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Gaffney is known as the "Peach Capital of South Carolina". The population was 12,539 at the 2010 census,[6] with an estimated population of 12,609 in 2019.[7] It is the principal city of the Gaffney, South Carolina, Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Cherokee County and which is further included in the greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina Combined Statistical Area.


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Michael Robert Gaffney was born in the town of Granard in County Longford, Ireland, in 1775.[8] He emigrated to the United States in 1797, arriving in New York City and moving to Charleston, South Carolina, a few years later. Gaffney moved again in 1804 to the South Carolina Upcountry and established a tavern and lodging house at what became known as "Gaffney's Cross Roads". The location was perfect for growth because of the two major roads which met here, one from the mountains of North Carolina to Charleston and the other from Charlotte into Georgia. Michael Gaffney died here on September 6, 1854.[9]

In 1872, the area became known as "Gaffney City". Gaffney became the county seat of Cherokee County which was formed out of parts of York, Union, and Spartanburg counties in 1897. Gaffney became a major center for the textile industry in South Carolina, which was the backbone of the county's economy up until the 1980s.

Uptown Gaffney began to languish after Interstate 85 was built in the county as industries located near the new highway.

Two serial killers have at different times attacked residents of Gaffney. In 1967–1968 Lee Roy Martin, known as the Gaffney Strangler, killed four people; two were young girls, a fourteen-year-old and a fifteen-year-old.[10] In 2009, a series of shootings by Patrick Tracy Burris led to five deaths.[11]


Gaffney is located in northern South Carolina near the center of Cherokee County. It is located 55 miles (89 km) southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina and 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Greenville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Gaffney has a total area of 8.35 square miles (21.63 km2), of which 8.32 square miles (21.56 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.31%, is water.[6]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12][4]

2020 census

Gaffney racial composition[13]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,798 45.42%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 5,763 45.15%
Native American 37 0.29%
Asian 81 0.63%
Pacific Islander 8 0.06%
Other/Mixed 458 3.59%
Hispanic or Latino 619 4.85%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 12,764 people, 4,220 households, and 2,116 families residing in the city.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,968 people, 5,304 households, and 3,336 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,649.7 inhabitants per square mile (637.0/km2). There were 5,765 housing units at an average density of 733.4 per square mile (283.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 50.48% White, 47.19% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.99% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population. [citation needed]

There were 5,304 households, out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.1% were married couples living together, 21.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.96.[citation needed]

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.4% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.7 males.[citation needed]

The median income for a household in the city was $29,480, and the median income for a family was $38,449. Males had a median income of $30,145 versus $22,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,755. About 13.3% of families and 26.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 18.0% of those age 65 or over.[citation needed]

Arts and culture

Gaffney has a public library, a branch of the Cherokee County Library System.[14]

Located in the historic district of downtown Gaffney, is Harold's Restaurant, a diner founded in 1932 by Harold Tindall.[15] The diner was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and visited by host Guy Fieri in 2007.[16]

In 2008, the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum opened on the former mustering ground of the South Carolina militia (1812–1914), and is one of the city's three nationally registered historic sites.

Other historic sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places include Archeological Site 38CK1, Archeological Site 38CK44, Archeological Site 38CK45, Carnegie Free Library, Coopersville Ironworks Site (38CK2) and Susan Furnace Site (38CK67), Cowpens Furnace Site (38CK73), Winnie Davis Hall, Ellen Furnace Site (38CK68), Gaffney Commercial Historic District, Gaffney Residential Historic District, Irene Mill Finishing Plant, Jefferies House, Limestone Springs Historic District, Magness-Humphries House, Nesbitt's Limestone Quarry (38CK69), and Settlemyer House.[17]

Parks and recreation

The city's park system include a skatepark, two passive parks, and several children's playgrounds.[18]


Limestone University

Gaffney is served by the Cherokee County School District, which is one unified school district. Public schools in Gaffney include:

Private schools in Gaffney include:

Colleges & universities:



Peachoid water tower


Gaffney is located on the Interstate 85 corridor, linking it to Atlanta and Charlotte. U.S. Route 29 passes through the center of Gaffney.

Public transit is available through the Gaffney Cab Company.

The region is served by two airports, Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport, and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Water tower

The Peachoid water tower is a water tower shaped like a peach, and serves both artistic and practical functions.


Notable people

In popular culture

Fictional politician Frank Underwood, the protagonist of the Netflix series House of Cards, is a native of the city and its congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives (for South Carolina's 5th congressional district) and later President of the United States. The Peachoid was shown, and referred to in multiple episodes.[24][25]

See also


  1. ^ "City Council | Gaffney, SC".
  2. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Gaffney, South Carolina
  4. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Gaffney city, South Carolina (revision of 02-22-2013)". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections, Winthrop University, "Michael Gaffney Biography 1775-1854 - Accession 132 - M59 (74)". Finding Aid 163.
  9. ^ Black, John (September 28, 1958). "Michael Gaffney (1775-1854), Upstate Pioneer" (PDF). Spartanburg Herals. pp. 1–2. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  10. ^ PETERS, ROBERT W. DALTON and CRAIG. "Gaffney Strangler terrorized town 40 years ago, murdering 4 women". Spartanburg Herald Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  11. ^ "Americas | US community fears serial killer". BBC News. July 5, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "South Carolina libraries and archives". SCIWAY. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Harold's Restaurant: Gaffney fixture featured on Food Network". Spartanburg Herald Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  16. ^ Bureau, JANET S. SPENCER Cherokee County. "Fieri salivates over fatback at Harold's". Spartanburg Herald Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  17. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  18. ^ City of Gaffney, South Carolina (August 13, 2023). "City of Gaffney Parks". City of Gaffney, South Carolina, Website. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  19. ^ "Cherokee Medical Center - Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  20. ^ Staff Reports (December 31, 2018). "Spartanburg Regional completes Mary Black acquisition". Archived from the original on January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  21. ^ "Cancer Treatment at Gibbs Cancer Center - Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "MGC Immediate Care Center – Gaffney". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  23. ^ Green Design Advocate Neil Chambers Launches National Book Tour Archived March 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Chris Jancelewicz (February 26, 2013). "House Of Cards Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Just Peachoid". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  25. ^ Stephen Largen (March 19, 2013). "Upstate town's giant peach is ripe for fame on Netflix drama 'House of Cards'". The Post and Courier. Charleston, South Carolina. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2014.