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Iconic California thermometer relit after renovation

BAKER, Calif. -- 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 family that originally built the thermometer spent about $150,000 fixing it up, CBS Las Vegas reported.

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.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the nephew of Herron's daughter created a website and Facebook page so that people could track the progress of the thermometer's restoration.