World’s tallest thermometer in Baker shines bright again

The Baker thermometer in 2005. The landmark, which had fallen into disrepair, was turned on again this week.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The world’s tallest thermometer was turned on again Thursday after it went completely dark two years ago due to high electric bills.

Standing 134-feet-tall, the legendary thermometer along Interstate 15 in Baker is no longer tired and neglected.

The revamped thermometer received a fresh coat of paint and new LED lights, replacing its old standard light bulbs, which had driven up electric bills.


On opening day, the thermometer recorded its first official temperature of 102 degrees, said LaRae Harguess, whose father, Willis Herron, built it in 1991 thonor the highest temperature ever recorded, which was 134 degrees in what is now Death Valley National Park.

Harguess and her family had been working around the clock since March to repair the thermometer.

Her 79-year-old mother, Barbara Herron, also spent $150,000 to bring the tourist attraction back to life.

The renovation, she said, not only restores her father’s legacy, but will hopefully shine a spotlight on Baker again.

“We wanted to do it for the town of Baker,” Harguess said.

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