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Landmark thermometer relit after renovation

Friday - 7/11/2014, 3:33pm  ET

thermometer_baker_AP.jpg
File-This Jan. 27,2000 file photo shows visitors driving through the town of Baker, Calif. as the world's tallest thermometer stands in the background. The giant thermometer built to attract motorists headed to and from Las Vegas has become an eyesore, and residents in Baker, Calif., are divided about whether to take the landmark down. Erected in 1991 and billed as the "World's Largest Thermometer, the 134-foot-high structure equipped with nearly 5,000 light bulbs was a Mojave Desert beacon. After changing ownership a few times, the current owner has kept the thermometer dark, saying the light bill was about $8,000 a month. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill,File)

BAKER, Calif. (AP) -- A giant thermometer rising from the Southern California desert is once again a beacon for tourists headed to and from Las Vegas.

The roadside attraction off Interstate 15 in Baker was relit Thursday after a major renovation.

The July 10 date is significant: it was on the same day in 1913 that the hottest official temperature on Earth was recorded in Death Valley.

Willis Herron built the thermometer to a height of 134 feet to match that record.

Herron's widow, Barbara, says it made her sad to see the Baker landmark -- billed as the "World's Largest Thermometer" -- fall into disrepair in recent years.

Her family took it over again, aiming to make its 5,000 light bulbs glow once more -- although they've now been replaced with energy-saving LEDs.

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Information from: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, http://www.dailybulletin.com


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