The 1831 London Bridge was the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son, John Rennie the Younger. By 1962, the bridge was not sound enough to support the increased load of modern traffic, and it was sold by the City of London.
The purchaser, Robert P. McCulloch, the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, was the founder of Lake Havasu City, his retirement real estate development on the east shore of Lake Havasu, a large reservoir on the Colorado River. McCulloch purchased the bridge as a tourist attraction for Lake Havasu, which was then far from the usual tourist track. The idea was successful, bringing interested tourists and retirement home buyers to the area.
London Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, but did you know that it was moved to the United States in the 1960s? That’s right, the London Bridge that currently spans the Colorado River on Lake Havasu is the same bridge that used to cross the River Thames in London. In this blog, we will explore the fascinating history of the London Bridge on Lake Havasu and its significance to the people of the United States.
The history of the London Bridge dates back to the 12th century when the first bridge was built across the River Thames in London. Over the years, the bridge underwent several reconstructions, with the most significant one taking place in the 19th century. In the mid-1800s, London Bridge was in a state of disrepair and needed to be replaced. In 1824, a competition was held to design a new bridge, and the winning design was submitted by John Rennie. Rennie’s design included five arches, with the central arch spanning 152 feet. Construction of the new bridge began in 1825 and was completed in 1831 at a cost of approximately £2.5 million.
The London Bridge became an iconic landmark in London and was a vital transportation link between the northern and southern parts of the city. However, by the mid-20th century, the bridge was again in a state of disrepair and needed to be replaced. In 1962, the City of London decided to auction off the bridge, and it was eventually purchased by Robert P. McCulloch, an American businessman and entrepreneur, for $2.46 million.
McCulloch’s plan was to move the London Bridge to the United States and rebuild it in Lake Havasu, a planned community he was developing in Arizona. The idea was met with skepticism by many, who thought that it would be impossible to move such a massive structure across the Atlantic Ocean. However, McCulloch was determined, and in 1967, the dismantling of the bridge began.
The bridge was dismantled stone by stone and numbered so that it could be reconstructed in Lake Havasu. The stones were transported to the United States by ship and then trucked to Arizona. Reconstructing the bridge was a significant undertaking and took three years to complete. However, the London Bridge was finally rebuilt in Lake Havasu in 1971.
Today, the London Bridge on Lake Havasu is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the city. The bridge spans the Colorado River and connects Lake Havasu City to the island on the river’s west bank. The bridge is approximately 950 feet long and 45 feet wide and consists of 10,276 granite blocks. The bridge’s reconstruction in Lake Havasu cost approximately $7 million and was paid for by Robert McCulloch.
In addition to being a tourist attraction, the London Bridge on Lake Havasu has become a symbol of the enduring relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. The bridge serves as a reminder of the close ties between the two countries and their shared history and heritage.
The London Bridge on Lake Havasu has also played a significant role in the economic development of the region. The bridge has helped to attract tourists to the area, which has led to the growth of the hospitality industry. Today, Lake Havasu City is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The London Bridge on Lake Havasu is not just a symbol of the United States and the United Kingdom’s relationship, but it also represents the ingenuity and determination of Robert P. McCulloch. McCulloch’s vision to move the London Bridge to the United States was met with skepticism, but he persevered and made it happen.