When you start down that last hill or maybe the next to the last hill and sight the largest thermometer in the world you know the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is almost over. In August it's nothing unusual to see that thermometer register over 120 degrees. It's something to look forward to while dodging the drunk drivers either hopefully heading toward Las Vegas to claim fame and fortune or desolately returning home sad, broke and still drunk.
A businessman named Will Herron, dreamed a dream of a huge thermometer for 25 years before he built his dream in California's high desert.
The World's Largest Thermometer is 134-ft.-tall, symbolic of the record breaking high temperature in Death Valley -- 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. Apparently it's never been hotter anyplace.
Herron had the thermometer constructed by Electric Sign Co. of Las Vegas (manufacturers of many lights on the Vegas strip). They used 33 tons of steel, and almost 5,000 lamps to create the three-sided digital display. After strong winds broke the thermometer, smashing a gift shop under construction, it was rebuilt, and eventually filled with concrete so that it would survive just about anything.
Obviously, though, not everything.
In this era of failed just about everything, it is with deep sadness that I report the demise of the Baker thermometer. It's still really tall. The post cards and road side signs, though, have changed. Baker is now the proud home of the World's Tallest Broken Thermometer.
I guess that's still something to write home about unless, of course, you live in Baker.
As a boy named John, the high school love of my life, wrote in my year book after I had dramatically ended our relationship during a speed test in our typing class, "Time flies and things change."
Wow! Was he ever right.
Hopefully John doesn't at this time live in Baker. Hearts broken twice are sad to behold.