Arizona July 22, 2016
The History Behind This Arizona Bridge Is Truly Strange
When it comes to bridges, Arizona’s don’t quite get the credit they deserve. That’s a shame because some of them look pretty amazing and a few dozen are even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of all these bridges, there’s one spot that really takes the cake.
1. The London Bridge is also often called the world's most expensive souvenir. It cost Lake Havasu City's founder Robert McCulloch a whopping $2,460,000 when bidding on the bridge. This included spending $1.2 million to have the bridge painstakingly dismantled and $60,000 to have it reconstructed in Arizona.
It also made a world record for being the World's Largest Antique.
2. Everyone thought McCulloch was crazy for purchasing the bridge and the Common Council of the City of London for selling the bridge.
Who on earth would sell a century-old bridge and who would even buy it? These guys. It also led to rumors, such as what you'll see in number five.
3. McCulloch thought that Lake Havasu City needed a major attraction to lure visitors and residents into town. That led him to purchasing the London Bridge.
He chose well because the bridge helps bring in the 775,000 annual visitors to the city.
4. The bridge's reconstruction was waterless. The process included dredging an 8-foot deep channel between the mainland and what's now known as Pittsburgh Point.
5. Pieces of the bridge were left behind in England during the meticulous dismantling process. These leftover bits now sit in a Devon quarry.
No need to worry though! These were spare corbels, the curved parts you see in picture two.
6. Someone spread a rumor that the iconic Tower Bridge, which also crosses the River Thames, would be relocated to Arizona. The rumor also suggested that McCulloch thought he was purchasing this bridge.
7. There is also a misconception what now sits in Lake Havasu City is the Old London Bridge, which dated back to England's medieval period. That one—known for its 200-some buildings and bloody practice of placing the severed heads of traitors on poles—was demolished in 1832 for being an old, decrepit thing.
It was starting to fall apart, too narrow for traffic, and didn't allow for boats to pass under it. This Old London Bridge was also the same bridge from the popular nursery rhyme you sang as a kid.
8. The New London Bridge opened in 1831 and soon became one of the busiest points in the city. In 1896, it was estimated that each hour, 8,000 people and 900 vehicles crossed the bridge. Holy cow!
9. The London Bridge today still bears scars from World War II, including bullet holes from German machine guns.
Want to learn about other bridges in Arizona? Check out our article, “
You’ll Want To Cross These 10 Amazing Bridges In Arizona.”