London Bridge (Lake Havasu City)

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London Bridge in Lake Havasu
London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona (3227888290).jpg
London Bridge in Lake Havasu City
Coordinates34°28′18″N 114°20′50″W / 34.4716789°N 114.3471778°W / 34.4716789; -114.3471778Coordinates: 34°28′18″N 114°20′50″W / 34.4716789°N 114.3471778°W / 34.4716789; -114.3471778
CarriesMcCulloch Boulevard North
CrossesBridgewater Channel Canal
LocaleLake Havasu City, Arizona, United States
DesignArch bridge
MaterialClynelish (Brora) sandstone and various granite mixes
Total length930 feet (280 m; 167 sm)[1]
Longest span45.6 metres (150 ft)[2]
No. of spans5
DesignerJohn Rennie
Construction start1825
1967 (rebuild)
Construction end1831
1971 (rebuild)
OpenedAugust 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. The bridge was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London in 1968. 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.[3]


London Bridge in 1972, showing the canal

The 1831 London Bridge was the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son, John Rennie the Younger.[4] By 1962, the bridge was not sound enough to support the increased load of traffic, and it was sold by the City of London in 1968.

The purchaser, Robert P. McCulloch, was an entrepreneur, and hoped the bridge would bring interested tourists and retirement home buyers to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, which he founded.

It is a popular rumor that the bridge was bought in the belief that it was London's more recognizable Tower Bridge,[5][6][7] but this was ardently denied by McCulloch himself and by Ivan Luckin, who sold the bridge.[8]

Originally, the deserted Lake Havasu vacant land was given to the state of Arizona by the U.S. Federal Government. The federal property was an abandoned military landing strip. McCulloch made a deal with the state government and received the property for free with a promise 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 $2.46m (£1.78m). Plumer then arranged with a cargo shipping company that was going to sail a newly built ship from Great Britain to the United States without any cargo. Plumer said they would pay for all operating costs of the sailing, which was far less than the going rate shipping costs. The bridge's facing stones were disassembled, and each was numbered. After the bridge was dismantled, it was transported to Merrivale Quarry where 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) were sliced off many of the original stones. The bridge was transported through the Panama Canal, and arrived in pieces at the Port of Long Beach, California, and was transported overland to Lake Havasu City, where re-assembly began in 1968. On September 23, 1968, the foundation stone was relaid by Sir Gilbert Inglefield, Lord Mayor of London.[9]

London Bridge in 1973

The original stonework was then used to clad a new concrete structure.[1] The reconstruction took slightly over three years and was completed in late 1971 by Sundt Construction.[10] The bridge was not reconstructed over a river, but was rebuilt on land in a position between the main part of the city and Pittsburgh Point, at that time a peninsula jutting into Lake Havasu.[11] Once completed, the Bridgewater Channel Canal was dredged under the bridge and flooded, separating Pittsburgh Point from the city, creating an island. As a result, the bridge now traverses a navigable shortcut between the Thompson Bay part of Lake Havasu south of Pittsburgh Point, and the remainder of Lake Havasu to the north.[12]

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", a quaint English-style open-air mall with hedge maze and historical museum deteriorated, with sections leveled. A revitalization of the English Village was undertaken by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau.[13] Condos were proposed in 2011 by the owner, Virtual Realty Enterprises.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The 1983 American psychological thriller Olivia used the relocation of the bridge as a central plot device.[15]
  • 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.
  • London Bridge is featured in the 1987 film Million Dollar Mystery.[16]
  • The paranormal reality television series Ghost Adventures covered the story of the London Bridge, in the episode "London Bridge".[17]

Image gallery[edit]

A panoramic view of the entire bridge.
London Bridge in about 1870 when it crossed the River Thames in London


  1. ^ a b Jackson, Donald C. (1988). Great American Bridges and Dams. Wiley. p. 245. ISBN 0471143855.
  2. ^ London Bridge (1831) at Structurae
  3. ^ Lake Havasu City website
  4. ^ John Murray 1874 "Handbook to London As It Is", p. 43.
  5. ^ Polaris EX2100/LE2100 Sport Boats Popular Mechanics, December 2003, archived on September 30, 2007 from Polaris EX2100/LE2100 the original
  6. ^ Oliver, Mark (2004-12-14). "Bridges". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  7. ^ 'If That's The Acropolis, How Come It Don't Chime?' in Alan Coren The Sanity Inspector Coronet Books, 1974. ISBN 0340199121
  8. ^ How London Bridge Was Sold To The States This Is Local London, March 27, 2002
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Toll, Eric Jay (May 8, 2015). "This Arizona builder had a hand in the Manhattan Project and London Bridge". Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  11. ^ Wilson, Bill (Oct 13, 2011). "This London Bridge is staying up". Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  12. ^ Frederic B. Wildfang (2005). Lake Havasu City. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 105–122. ISBN 978-0738530123. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  13. ^ Archived 2017-08-20 at the Wayback Machine the-english-village
  14. ^ "English Village owner in Lake Havasu City to present big changes".
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ "AFI|Catalog". Retrieved 2021-03-04.
  17. ^ "London Bridge (Season 19, Episode 13)". Travel Channel. Retrieved May 3, 2020.

External links[edit]