Last week, we asked readers if they knew where this golden apple is located. The answer, as a few observant Denverites correctly answered, is atop a huge flagpole just north of Sixth Avenue and just west of I-25.
It’s a big flag, but we didn’t know that it may be the largest in use in the state. Brad Apple, owner of Time Plumbing, said he thinks it might be. It’s 40 by 80 feet, so 3,200 square feet in area.
And, it’s worth noting, this is not just one flag we’re talking about. Apple cycles through three at any one time as they get battered in the wind. He can repair each one about three times before he has to replace it. Each costs about $7,000.
The pole was the tallest in the state, measuring about 154 feet high, but he said the town of Swink, southeast of Pueblo, recently built one taller. Swink’s flag is not as large, he said.
And that apple on top, fashioned as such in reference to his last name, is a whopping 3.5 feet in diameter. It’s tough to tell from so far away.
The other thing that’s not apparent about this flag is its sheer weight — and that lowering it in deference to national tragedies is not very straightforward. It’s operated by a hand crank, and Apple said it’s a bit of a workout. A few years ago, one of his employees was injured operating the mechanism, so now he does it himself every time.
Frequently sore biceps are a sign of the times, he said. He gets notifications whenever a U.S. president declares federal flags be lowered, and he does his best to keep his in compliance.
“I’ve been doing it, it seems, quite a bit more often,” he told Denverite.
The flag can be heavier if the wind isn’t blowing. He said raising it can take as long as 15 minutes, and he often returns to his office sweaty. It also cannot be lowered more than a quarter-staff, he said, otherwise it will hit the powerlines below.
While Apple said he didn’t expect this tangential burden, he said he’s fine with the responsibility.
“I’m happy to do what it takes to present the flag in the way it should be presented,” he said “I’d rather do this than going to work out.”
His Popeye forearms are proof the crank has some effect.
The cranking, the expense to repair each flag and take each down (without letting them touch the ground) is a hassle, but Apple said it’s all worth it. It’s an opportunity to honor the U.S. military, his father, who was a World War II veteran, and his relatives who currently serve.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included some bad math on the flag size and incorrectly stated that the Apple’s company is called Brothers Plumbing & HVAC. That latter issue has been corrected.