Magnate J.R. Simplot donated his massive house in the Boise Highlands to the state of Idaho in 2005 for use as a gubernatorial residence. His one stipulation: That the equally massive American flag continue to wave above the house.
True to their word, state officials have flown the Simplot flag, even while they're in the process of giving the house back to the family because of expenses.
"It's always a picture people want to take, standing under the flag. You can see the flag from anywhere in the Valley," said Jennifer Pike at the Department of Administration.
At 30 feet by 50 feet, the flag is among the largest - if not the largest - in the state. When it's not flying, the flag fills a 50-gallon drum, Pike said.
As the story goes, after Simplot built the house in 1979, neighbors complained about the sound of the flag flapping in the wind. Some said it sounded like a gunshot.
The billionaire obliged by getting a taller flag pole, stretching some 200 feet into the air. The height decreased the flapping volume and everyone was happy.
The flag has flown at half-staff on different occasions, including the deaths of military personnel in combat, the death of Joe Albertson in 1993, and any other time the president or the governor made a proclamation that flags should fly at half-staff.
The Simplot flag requires monthly repairs.
"The wind whips up there pretty good," said Pike.
The state cycles through three or four flags each year, she added. Each costs $1,800.
Friday is National Flag Day, the commemoration of the day in 1777 when the Second Congressional Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the American flag.
President Woodrow Wilson established National Flag Day in 1916.
Anna Webb: 377-6431