World's Tallest Thermometer in 2005, Baker, CA (photo:M.Matchity)
If you’ve driven between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, undoubtedly you’ve spotted the enormous thermometer rising above a cluster of gas stations and fast-food outlets in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The iconic structure located in Baker, is, in fact, the World’s Tallest Thermometer. It’s been non-operational for a few years, but that all changes today. The thermometer will once again illuminate the triple-digit temperatures of summer, much to the delight of inquisitive travelers!
The 134-foot tall thermometer was the brainchild of Willis Heron, a local businessman. He wanted to commemorate a heat record set on July 10, 1913 when the temperature soared to 134 degrees in Death Valley. So in 1991, the 13-story structure was built, capable of displaying a maximum temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the same as the record. It was an instant tourist attraction for obvious reasons. Over the years the tower changed ownership, fell into disrepair and in 2012 the lights of the thermometer were permanently darkened due to high electric bills. In March 2014, members of the Heron family regained ownership of the structure and have been working feverously to restore it at to a tune of about $150,000.
The lights of the giant thermometer will be turned on this afternoon to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the hottest day on earth; however, an official “grand opening” is set later this year in October.
The World’s Tallest Thermometer is located at 72157 Baker Blvd. in Baker, California. It’s visible from Interstate 15 and can be reached via Exit 246. Visitors can purchase souvenirs from an adjacent gift shop.