( Baker, CA ) – You know that giant thermometer off the I-15 freeway on your way to or from L-A?
After several years of being turned off and falling apart under various owners, it’s back in the hands of the family that originally built it.
They spent about $150,000 fixing it up, and as of 3pm on Thursday, it’s back on.
LaRae Harguess is one of builder Willis Herron’s daughters and says there are reasons why the thermometer came back to life on July 10 – and why the freeway icon is 134 feet tall.
Harguess says the height is meant to honor the hottest temp ever recorded on our planet – 134 degrees in nearby Death Valley. And she notes that momentously hot occasion occured on July 10, 101 years ago (1913).
Harguess says all the credit for bringing the scorching structure back should go to her mom, who she says was the driving force behind the rejuvenation project in the little town of Baker, about half-way between Las Vegas and Barstow.
According to Harguess, the family paid a visit there not long after Mr Herron died in 2007. By then they had long since gotten out of the World’s Tallest Thermometer business, but she says her mom was devastated to see how poorly the record holder was doing and decided it was time to do something about it, especially since it made mom cry to see people taking pictures next to the broken down icon.
Harguess calls Thursday’s re-lighting a “soft opening” – and promises a big official celebration in October – when things have cooled off a bit.
There’s a lot more information about the thermometer, including its history and photos from the restoration project on the thermometer’s website.
Yes, the thermometer has it’s own website, which you can visit by clicking here.