London Bridge (Lake Havasu City)
London Bridge in Lake Havasu
|Carries||McCulloch Boulevard North|
|Crosses||Bridgewater Channel Canal|
|Locale||Lake Havasu City, Arizona, United States|
|Material||Clynelish (Brora) sandstone and various granite mixes|
|Total length||930 feet (280 m; 167 sm)|
|Longest span||45.6 metres (150 ft)|
|No. of spans||5|
|Opened||August 1, 1831 (London)|
October 10, 1971 (Lake Havasu)
London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was originally built in the 1830s and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England. In 1968, the bridge was purchased from the City of London by Robert P. McCulloch. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge cut and transported to the United States for use in the construction of a new bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The Arizona bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry of the 1830s bridge. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links an island in the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City. The "rededication" of the London Bridge took place on October 10, 1971.
The 1831 London Bridge was the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son, John Rennie. By 1962, it was not sturdy enough to carry the increased load of traffic; the bridge was sold by the City of London in April 1968 to make way for its replacement.
The purchaser, Robert P. McCulloch, was an entrepreneur and real estate developer who founded Lake Havasu City. He installed the bridge to attract tourists and retirement home buyers to his properties there.
Purchase and transfer to Arizona
The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called "Site Six" during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958 McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula, intending to develop the land. But the real estate agents could not bring in prospective buyers, because the land was far from centers of population and had a very hot, arid climate. McCulloch's real estate agent, Robert Plumer, learned that London Bridge was for sale and convinced McCulloch to buy it and bring it to the area to attract potential land buyers. The initial response from McCulloch was, "That's the craziest idea I have ever heard," but after consideration, he decided to go ahead and purchased it for £1.02 million ($2.46 million at that time).
There is a popular rumor that the bridge was bought in the mistaken belief that it was London's more recognizable Tower Bridge, but the allegation was vehemently denied by both McCulloch and Ivan Luckin, who arranged the bridge's sale.
The bridge's facing stones were removed, with each numbered and its position catalogued. After the bridge was dismantled, the stones were transported to Merrivale, Devon, Quarry where 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) were sliced off many of the original stones.
Plumer arranged with a cargo shipping company that was going to sail a newly built ship, without any cargo, from the U.K. to the U.S. Plumer negotiated to pay for all the voyage's operating costs, in return for carrying the bridge stones as cargo to the U.S., which was far less than the going rate shipping costs.
The new ship transported the bridge in pieces through the Panama Canal and unloaded it at the Port of Long Beach, California. From there, the bridge was transported overland to Lake Havasu City, where re-assembly began in 1968.
Reconstruction in Lake Havasu
On September 23, 1968, the bridge's foundation stone was re-laid at the reconstruction site in Arizona, by Sir Gilbert Inglefield, Lord Mayor of London. The original stonework was used to clad a new concrete interior structure. The reconstruction took slightly over three years and was completed in late 1971 by Sundt Construction.
The bridge was not rebuilt over a river, but was put up on land between the main part of the city and Pittsburgh Point, which at that time was a peninsula jutting into Lake Havasu. Once completed, a construction company dredged the Bridgewater Channel Canal under the bridge, across the neck of the Pittsburgh Point peninsula. The canal separating it from the city made Pittsburgh Point an island. As a result, the bridge now traverses a navigable shortcut between the Thompson Bay in Lake Havasu, south of Pittsburgh Point, and the northern part of Lake Havasu.
Use as a tourist attraction
After the bridge was reconstructed, prospective buyers of land were attracted to visit the bridge and take a tour of properties for sale. Land sales improved, and McCulloch recouped all his expenses on the purchase and shipping of the bridge. Since he had obtained the land at no cost, the sale of the properties paid for the bridge and more. Recent years have seen much development in the area of the bridge to increase tourist interest.
The original "English Village" was an open-air mall with a hedge maze and historical museum built in faux-English style. It deteriorated over time and sections of the mall were leveled. The Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau has undertaken a revitalization of the English Village, with conversion of the mall to condos proposed in 2011 by Virtual Realty Enterprises, its current owner.
In popular culture
- The 1983 American psychological thriller Olivia used the relocation of the bridge as a central plot device.
- The 1985 made-for-TV movie Bridge Across Time, a supernatural crime drama, used the relocation of the bridge as a plot device. In the film, the spirit of Jack the Ripper was somehow transported to 1980s Arizona along with a stone from London Bridge, resulting in a murder spree
- The 1986 book The Amazing Power of Ashur Fine by Donald J. Sobol.
- London Bridge is featured in the 1987 film Million Dollar Mystery.
- The paranormal reality television series Ghost Adventures covered the story of the London Bridge, in the episode "London Bridge".
- In the 1993 film Falling Down, Detective Pendergast plans to move to Lake Havasu with his wife. He sings the London Bridge tune to calm her down.
- Jackson, Donald C. (1988). Great American Bridges and Dams. Wiley. p. 245. ISBN 0471143855.
- London Bridge (1831) at Structurae
- "London Bridge". Lake Havasu City.
- Murray, John (1874). Handbook to London As It Is. p. 43 – via archive.org.
- "Yes, the London Bridge Will Rise Again in Arizona". The Arizona Republic. April 19, 1968. p. 1. Retrieved October 5, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
- Messick, Brandon (March 18, 2019). "Havasu's quick growth impressed a nation". AP News.
- Maia, Osvaldo Tetaze (February 17, 2018). "A great deal or simply "A Crazy Idea"?". medium.com.
- "How London Bridge was sold to the States". This is Local London. Hertfordshire. 27 March 2002. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16.
- "Polaris EX2100 / LE2100 Sport Boats". Popular Mechanics. December 2003. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
- Oliver, Mark (2004-12-14). "Bridges". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
- Coren, Alan (1974). "If that's the Acropolis, how come it don't chime?". The Sanity Inspector. Coronet Books. ISBN 0340199121.
- Elborough, Travis (2013). London Bridge in America: The tall story of a transatlantic crossing. Random House. pp. 211–212. ISBN 978-1448181674. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Toll, Eric Jay (8 May 2015). "This Arizona builder had a hand in the Manhattan Project and London Bridge". www.bizjournals.com (blog). Retrieved 2021-03-01.
- Wilson, Bill (13 October 2011). "This London Bridge is staying up". RoadsBridges.com. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
- Wildfang, Frederic B. (2005). Lake Havasu City. Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 105–122. ISBN 978-0738530123. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "The English Village". GoLakeHavasu.com. activities / attractions / London Bridge. Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
- Bruttell, Nathan (2011-04-06). "English Village owner in Lake Havasu City to present big changes". Today’s News-Herald. Lake Havasu City, Arizona: River City Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved 2021-07-17 – via HavasuNews.com.
- Lommel, Ulli (1983-02-02), Olivia (Crime, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Thriller), Suzanna Love, Robert Walker Jr, Jeff Winchester, Amy Robinson, Ambassador, New West, retrieved 2021-05-16
- "AFI|Catalog". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
- "London Bridge (Season 19, Episode 13)". Travel Channel. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to London Bridge Lake Havasu.|
- London Bridge (1971) at Structurae
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. AZ-57, "London Bridge, Spanning manmade channel (moved from London, UK), Lake Havasu City, Mohave County, AZ", 3 photos, 5 data pages, 1 photo caption page
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: London Bridge
- Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau about London Bridge
- RoadTrip America about London Bridge
- Potts, Lauren (24 September 2018). "The bridge that crossed an ocean (And the man who moved it)". BBC News. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- Andrew, E. (2018). How London Bridge ended up in Arizona. Retrieved October 10, 2019.