Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Left Lane
You may be asking yourself, how can the London Bridge be in the USA? This story starts in 1958 when a rich businessman by the name of Robert P. McCulloch bought 3353 acres of land on Lake Havasu in Arizona.
LAKE HAVASU CITY
This was the start of a planned city Robert P. McCulloch wanted to create. Exactly four years later, he would go on to obtain another 13,000 acres from the Federal Government around Lake Havasu.
Securing the current location for Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Which was founded on September, 30th 1963.
LONDON BRIDGE HISTORY
The London Bridge of Lake Havasu City, in Arizona, originally started its life crossing the mighty River Thames in London England. It was built by Scottish Engineer John Rennie and took 7 years to complete.
As the city of London England grew, the traffic across the London Bridge increased to a point never before seen. By 1900 with the combined weight of 1000 vehicles, and over 8000 pedestrians crossing it every hour, the bridge began to sink.
As the Eastern side of the Lodon Bridge sink, it became 4” inches lower then the West Side of the bridge. The city of London needed to build a new bridge, that could handle the increased traffic.
A London city councilor named Ivan Luckin convinced the city to sell the bridge instead of demolish it. He came to the United States on a campaign to sell London Bridge, holding a press conference in New York in 1968.
Robert P. McCulloch thought the idea of buying an internationally known landmark was ingenious, and would help him attract people to his newly founded city.
He placed the winning bid on the London Bridge in 1968 in the amount of $2,460,000.00. With the purchase complete, McCulloch had workers mark the precise location of each block, and remove each of the granite facial blocks of the London bridge.
He then had each of the Granite Blocks took to a quarry in Devon England, where 6” to 8” inches was sliced off the blocks inner faces.
Robert P. McCulloch then had the over 10,000 tons of granite blocks, shipped from England to Long Beach, California. Where they were loaded onto trucks, and transported to Lake Havasu Arizona.
To ensure the London Bridge could support the weight demands of modern traffic. It’s inner structure was made of a steel reinforced concrete design. With the original London Bridge granite facial blocks placed over it.
After 3 years of construction, a 10,000 mile water and land transport total, and another $4,500,000.00 the London Bridge was completed and opened in Lake Havasu City, Arizona on October 10th, 1971. Costing a grand total of $6,960,000.00.
THE LAMP POST
As part of the deal, with the purchase of the London Bridge. Robert P. McCulloch also acquired possession of the original Lamp Posts for the London Bridge.
The lamp posts are ornately sculpted and made of iron, but here’s where the story gets interesting! They’re not just made from any old iron, these special lamp posts are made from the melted down and repurposed iron from the seize Cannon’s of the famous conquerer Napoleon Bonaparte.
The world Conquerer Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated on June 18th, 1815 at the battle of Waterloo. After losing over 26,000 French Soldiers, many of his seize cannons were left behind in modern day Belgium.
From Weapon To Street Lamp
At the time of the London Bridge being built, starting in 1824, just 9 years after the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s seize cannons were brought to England, after the English defeated the French.
They needed iron to make the lamp posts for the London Bridge, so they melted down Napoleon’s cannons to make them. Which adds a whole new level of history, to an already historic landmark.
Having survived machine gun fire, and Nazi bombing during The Blitz of London during World War II in 1940, from which the bridge still bares scars to this day. To lamp posts made from the cannons of Napoleon…
You can see that the London Bridge truly earned its Guinness World Record as the largest Antique ever sold!
Just to walk along the 930’ foot bridge, and have its granite stones beneath your feet. Is to touch a piece of history.
VISITING LAKE HAVASU
I decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Lake Havasu City. There were 3 really good hotels in the area to choose from. All with a view of London Bridge. The hotels were: the Heat Hotel, London Bridge Resort, and Holiday Inn Express.
I chose the Holiday Inn Express for it’s proximity in walking distance to the Holiday festivities going on at the bridge, and it’s proximity to the gas station.
Activities On The Lake
There are many activities to keep you entertained in Lake Havasu City Arizona. From taking a jet ski ride, to guided lake cruises. There’s much to choose from. Bicycle rentals, paddle boards, and Kayaking just to name a few.
There’s an abundance of restaurants to choose from in the area, so there’s a place for even the pickiest of eaters. It also boasts outdoor camping, and live music venues like Jeremy’s Juke Joint.
A quick walk beneath the London Bridge can yield a number of activities for any adventure seeker.
I was on a 5000 mile road trip in my pickup truck, when I came through Lake Havasu City Arizona. It’s such a beautiful Oasis in the middle of the desert. It was my first time in the city, but most certainly not my last!
I believe it’s safe to say, Robert P. McCulloch succeeded in what he originally set out to do. Bringing the population of Lake Havasu City from less then a 1000 people in 1962, to over 57,000 now!
Attracting over 800,000 tourists annually, the London Bridge has become the 2nd largest tourist attraction in the state of Arizona, only behind the Grand Canyon. If you haven’t seen Lake Havasu, and the London Bridge. Start planning your trip now! Don’t worry, the London Bridge isn’t falling down 😉
Road Trip Adventures
If you liked this Blog Post, and want to see some of the other locations I visited. You can check out what else I saw during my 5100 mile Solo Road Trip. By Clicking one of the two links included below.
The Roving Gypsy®
Thanks for reading my Travel Blog, I hope you enjoyed this walk along the London Bridge as much as I did. Like what you read, & want more, or have a suggestion? Follow, Share, Comment, & let me know.