The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona: A Historical Marvel

The Journey from London to Arizona

The London Bridge, a remarkable architectural feat of the 19th century, was originally constructed over the River Thames in London, England. Designed by Sir John Rennie, it was dedicated in 1831 and served as a vital crossing in London. By the mid-20th century, the bridge could no longer support the increasing vehicular traffic and began to sink. This led to the bridge being put up for auction in 1967.

Enter Robert P. McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. McCulloch, known for his entrepreneurial ventures, saw an opportunity to acquire the bridge to help put his newly established city on the map. He won the auction with a bid of $2.46 million, which would equate to over $17 million in today's dollars. The terms required the bridge to be dismantled and transported to its new location at the buyer’s expense, adding another $7 million to the overall costs.

The Monumental Relocation

The task of relocating the London Bridge to Arizona was a monumental engineering challenge. Expert masons dismantled the bridge, carefully cataloging each of the granite stones for accurate reassembly in Arizona. These stones were then shipped to Long Beach, California, via the Panama Canal, and trucked to Lake Havasu City. The reconstruction, supervised by architect Robert Beresford using Rennie’s original plans, commenced in 1968 and was completed in 1971.

To avoid tariffs, the bridge was declared an antique by U.S. Customs & Border Protection, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest antique ever sold. A mile-long channel was dredged beneath the bridge, transforming what was a peninsula into an island.

The Bridge Today

Today, the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City is more than just a historical landmark; it's a fusion of heritage and modern American culture. The bridge's granite stonework from London clads a new load-bearing structure, effectively blending the old with the new. It's become a centerpiece for the city, hosting a variety of special events and festivals annually. The bridge has successfully attracted tourists and prospective residents, playing a pivotal role in the development of Lake Havasu City.

The London Bridge in Arizona stands as a testament to vision, determination, and the remarkable feat of bridging not just two locations but also connecting cultures and histories across continents.

Lake Havasu State Park