"World's Tallest Thermometer", Baker, California
"World's Tallest Thermometer", Baker, California | Photo Credit: Flickr - Jose and Roxanne

Not only does the “World’s Tallest Thermometer” record the highest temperature in the world, it also soars to the sky over the drastic climates of the Mojave Desert. The roadside oddity has been towering over I-15 in eastern California for decades. While it was challenged with demolition, the giant 134-foot-tall structure was saved by the family who first built it and has maintained its legacy as a popular attraction in the desert.

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It all began in the early 1990s, when Willis Herron decided he was going to have the “World’s Tallest Thermometer” built beside his restaurant. The thermometer would draw in visitors who would likely grab a bite to eat while they were there. It was great advertisement for his establishment and put him on the map for his world record landmark.

In 1991, a company located in Salt Lake City, Utah called Young Electric Sign Company, built the large thermometer. Upon completion, they brought it to Baker, California where it was to be stood up beside Herron’s Bun Boy restaurant. Shortly after standing up the mega-structure, a strong windstorm swept across the surrounding desert which toppled the thermometer into the nearby building. This didn’t stop Willis Herron. The building was repaired, and the thermometer was strengthened with 125 cubic yards of concrete for stability.

"World's Tallest Thermometer", Baker, California
“World’s Tallest Thermometer”, Baker, California | Photo Credit: Flickr – kennejima

In 1992, the $750,000 thermometer was lit for the first time, astonishing locals and passerby on the interstate. Upon completion, the landmark was stated to weigh nearly 77,000 pounds!

The thermometer can measure temperatures up to 134° F. The significance of this temperature is related to the fact that the World’s Hottest Day was recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913 with a temperature of 134° F.

As Willis Herron’s health declined, he ultimately ended up selling his record structure and restaurant in 2003. The attraction stayed open for nearly another decade, changing hands several times.

In 2012, the owner of the thermometer and restaurant stated that it was just too expensive to upkeep with the bad economy. The electric bill for the “World’s Tallest Thermometer” was over $8,000 a month alone!

For two years, the lights on the thermometer were turned off and it began to grow into disrepair. The once beaming attraction was turning into an eyesore. When Herron’s widow Barbara heard the news that the thermometer may be torn down, she immediately worked with her family to rebuild the location. They worked for several months to restore the structure to its former glory.

The “World’s Tallest Thermometer” was relit on July 10, 2014. The day selected marked the 101st anniversary of the World’s Hottest Day.

Plan Your Visit

The “World’s Tallest Thermometer” is located at 72157 Baker Boulevard in Baker, California near I-15. At the base of the thermometer is the Temp 134 Gift Shop which sells unique souvenirs and other collectibles to commemorate your visit.  Be sure to snap a picture with the tall landmark and maybe you can even catch of glimpse of the temperature while you’re there.

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