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The Remarkable Tale of Lake Havasu City and the London Bridge – ShutterBulky
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London bridge and history of lake havasu city

The Remarkable Tale of Lake Havasu City and the London Bridge

by Peter Barnes

Historical Story of Lake Havasu City

Once upon a time, there was a bridge in London that captivated the hearts of thousands of people. It wasn’t just any bridge; it was the iconic London Bridge, steeped in history and legends. However, as time passed, this architectural marvel began to crumble, and the city faced a dilemma – should they demolish it or find a new home for it?

London bridge lake havasu city
London Bridge – Photo – Pinterest

The year was 1924 when engineers discovered that London Bridge was slowly sinking. Calculations revealed that it was sinking by a third of a centimeter each year, causing concern among city officials. It took four long years of deliberation before City Councilman Evan Lukin proposed a groundbreaking idea – selling the bridge instead of demolishing it.

At first, Lukin’s proposal surprised his fellow councilors, but as they contemplated the idea, its potential became apparent. Finally, in 1967, the City Council made the momentous decision to sell London Bridge and use the proceedings to benefit the city. Little did they know that this decision would lead to an extraordinary chapter in the bridge’s history.

Soon after the announcement, several interested parties came forward, hoping to acquire the bridge. However, none could meet the city council’s asking price. With only five weeks remaining before the deadline, Evan Lukin, the man who suggested selling the bridge, volunteered to take charge of the sale and traveled to the United States.

Across the Atlantic, in the vibrant land of America, Lukin faced new challenges in selling the bridge. Undeterred, he held a press conference at the British American Chamber of Commerce in New York, where he passionately highlighted the bridge’s historical significance.

Meanwhile, in the heartland of Missouri, a wealthy businessman named Robert McCulloch had acquired vast acres of land near Lake Havasu. McCulloch had dreams of transforming this land into a thriving city called “Lake City.” However, finding buyers for the land proved to be an uphill battle. It was during this time that McCulloch’s business partner, C.J. Wee Wood, introduced him to the idea of purchasing London Bridge.

Intrigued by the notion, McCulloch swiftly recognized the potential of the bridge as a major tourist attraction for his growing city. He struck a deal and purchased the bridge for a sum of $2.46 million. The next phase involved the daunting task of dismantling the 950-foot-long, 33,000-ton bridge and transporting it to its new home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

With meticulous planning and care, the bridge was disassembled and packed into large wooden boxes. These boxes embarked on a journey, sailing through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, California. From there, the colossal boulders traveled over three hundred miles by truck to reach their final destination.

Photo – Pinterest

Reassembling the bridge proved to be a challenging endeavor. Despite the careful numbering and packing of the bricks, some had suffered damage during transportation. These damaged blocks had to be replaced with new ones, carefully crafted to resemble the centuries-old appearance of the original stones.

Steel and concrete reinforcements were introduced to strengthen the arches, ensuring the bridge could support the weight of both vehicles and pedestrians. Finally, the bridge stood tall and proud once again, ready to embark on a new chapter in Lake Havasu City.

However, there was one crucial element missing—a river flowing beneath the bridge. Since Lake Havasu was devoid of such a river, an ambitious plan was set into motion. A mile-long canal was created, diverting water from the lake to flow gracefully beneath the London Bridge, completing the enchanting picture.

london bridge
Photo – Pinterest

On October 10, 1971, the London Bridge was unveiled in its new home, surrounded by a grand celebration. The Mayor of London, who had made the bold decision to sell the bridge, attended as the guest of honor. The event marked the birth of a remarkable tourist attraction and the transformation of Lake Havasu City.

Robert McCulloch’s business strategy proved to be a resounding success. The demand for this unique destination soared, and Lake Havasu City experienced a surge in population, growing from a mere few hundred residents in the 1960s to over 10,000 by 1974. The London Bridge became a magnet, drawing more than two million tourists to the city.

Today, Lake Havasu City boasts a vibrant population of over 52,000 residents, and the London Bridge has seamlessly integrated into the fabric of everyday life. While the bridge may no longer hold the same novelty it once did, its historical significance and the contributions it made to the creation of Lake Havasu City will forever be cherished.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City
London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

London Bridge is Falling Down.. Falling Down..

As you stroll across the bridge, hearing the faint echoes of the famous childhood rhyme, “London Bridge is Falling Down,” you can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary journey this bridge has taken. From the bustling streets of London to finding a new home in the scenic desert oasis of Lake Havasu City, the London Bridge stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the power of transformation.

And so, the tale of the London Bridge and its enchanting story in Lake Havasu City continues to captivate the hearts and imaginations of those who walk its storied path.

lake havasu city
Lake Havasu RV Park

lake havasu city
Photo –

lake havasu city
Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States.

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