World's tallest thermometer
It is technically an electric sign rather than a thermometer. It commemorates the record 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 10, 1913. It weighs 34.914 kg (76,812 pounds) and is held together by 96 cubic meters (125 cubic yards of concrete). It stands 134 feet (41 meters) tall and it is capable of displaying a maximum temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius), both of which are a reference to the temperature record.
It was built in 1991 by the Young Electric Sign Company of Salt Lake City, Utah, for Willis Herron, a local businessman who spent $700,000 to build the thermometer next to his Bun Boy restaurant (later replaced by Bob's Big Boy). Soon after its completion, it was damaged by high winds and rebuilt. Herron sold the attraction and restaurant to another local businessman, Larry Dabour, who sold it in 2005. In September 2012, current owner Matt Pike said that the power bill for its operation had reached $8,000 per month and that he turned it off due to the poor economy. As of January 2013, the thermometer and accompanying empty gift shop were listed for sale. The family of Willis Herron (who died in 2007) recovered ownership of the property in 2014 and stated their intention to make it operational again. The official re-lighting took place July 10, 2014.
The world's tallest thermometer is located adjacent to a Bob's Big Boy restaurant and is visible along Interstate 15 in Southern California's Mojave Desert at 72155 Baker Boulevard in Baker. Along the interstate, the landmark is visible from three different sides. Bun Boy went out of business after several decades of delighting motorists. The mini-mart at the base of the thermometer was shut down for a minor violation according to a sign posted on the glass door. A plaque for the thermometer has been removed. Country Store with 76 (ConocoPhillips) gas station and Bun Boy Motel are still in operation under the same name.
- Lee Benson, "Hot spot is a cool pit stop", Deseret News, January 6, 2003.
- Phil Willon, "Baker's giant thermometer, long on the blink, is taking heat", Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2012.
- Phil Willon, "Baker's giant thermometer is up for sale", Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2013.
- Wendy Lee, "World's tallest thermometer could light up again", KPCC, March 26, 2014.
- Mary Muckenfuss, "BAKER: World’s Largest Thermometer to shine again", The Press-Enterprise, March 26, 2014.
- KPCC Staff, "World's tallest thermometer in Baker ready to rise", KPCC, July 10, 2014.
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