How did this blessing to a nation make its way from rainy London to the dust-dry Mojave Desert in Arizona? Bearing bullet holes, birds, bats and historic graffiti, the London Bridge is hollow inside but chock full of amazing stories you must see to believe!
For nearly 2,000 years, a series of bridges has spanned the River Thames in London. The bridge spanning Lake Havasu City’s Bridgewater Channel today was built 190 years ago in 1831. Due to a heavy increase in vehicle traffic in the early 20th century, this bridge began sinking into the River Thames. So the City of London had it dismantled and sold it at auction in 1967.
Robert P. McCulloch was the winning bidder at $2.4 million ($19 million in today’s dollars). As Lake Havasu City’s founder, he teamed up with C.V. Wood, Disneyland’s master planner and the theme park’s first employee, to design his dream city. An eccentric but visionary entrepreneur known for the McCulloch chainsaw brand, McCulloch had an idea that many thought was odd: reconstruct the bridge as an attraction to draw tourists and prospective buyers of residential lots.
Lake Havasu City's visionary founders: Cornelius Vanderbilt "C.V." Wood (left, December 17, 1920 - March 14, 1992) and Robert Paxton McCulloch (May 11, 1911 - February 25, 1977)
A TRANSATLANTIC VISION: The London Bridge is a testament to American ingenuity and our nation’s enduring relationship with Great Britain.
AN AMERICAN DREAM IN THE MOJAVE DESERT: Teamwork, innovation and the spirit of achievement brought McCulloch’s vision to life.
DREDGING THE CHANNEL AND RECONSTRUCTING THE BRIDGE: The dirt from the dig was used to support the arches while they were reconstructed.
A CROSSROADS OF OPPORTUNITY: Far from crowded London, The London Bridge attracted prospective buyers of residential lots in the barren desert.
The London Bridge was shipped in sections across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Panama Canal. The first section arrived at the Port of Los Angeles on July 5, 1968. From there, the sections were transported overland to Lake Havasu City. The shipping and reconstruction of the bridge, and dredging of a man-made channel underneath, cost $7 million.
On October 10, 1971—after three years of meticulous reconstruction—the London Bridge was rededicated with a vibrant celebration still remembered as the largest in the city’s history. To welcome visitors and support lot sales, McCulloch Properties also built the English Village: an open-air mall that’s thriving today with restaurants, shops and fun things to see and do.
The London Bridge is NOT falling down contrary to the popular English nursery rhyme. The inside of the bridge is hollow but it’s reinforced with a sturdy steel framework faced with granite.
The vintage lampposts on the bridge are made from the melted-down cannons of Napoleon Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Waterloo.
The London Bridge survived World War II Nazi warplane bombings. Visitors can see the battle scars left behind and where two U.S. soldiers tagged their names on the centuries-old stone.
When dismantled in London, each stone of the London Bridge was numbered so it could be reassembled anywhere in the world. If you look carefully, you can see the numbering on many of the stones.
The London Bridge is rumored to be haunted. For years, visitors have claimed sightings of a British police bobby patrolling the bridge and a woman in black roaming the night. See the London Bridge on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures.
The London Bridge has appeared in numerous movies and TV productions, including Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures (2020), Bridge That Crossed an Ocean (2019), a BBC documentary, and Terror at London Bridge (1985) starring David Hasselhoff.
The London Bridge is home to hundreds of bats inhabiting the nooks and crannies of its hollow interior.
On the underside of the bridge, thousands of swallows have built their nests out of mud pellets gathered from the shoreline of the Bridgewater Channel.
In 1968, the then U.S. Bureau of Customs officially declared the London Bridge an antique. It was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Largest Antique Ever Sold.”
A top new sneaker release for 2018, the “Concepts x New Balance Made in U.K. 991.5 ‘Lake Havasu’” athletic shoe was inspired by the story of the London Bridge's relocation to Lake Havasu City. New Balance presented two pairs of this limited-edition shoe to the city.
“London Bridge is made more of souls than of stone. It’s everyone who ever lived on it and died on it and worked on it and walked on it. And now it’s here in the United States — a precious gift to the people of America. May it stand forever.” — FROM LONDON BRIDGE, MCCULLOCH OF LONDON LIMITED (1971)
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How the London Bridge went from London to Lake Havasu City presented by the BBC.