If London Bridge was to fall down again, it would not fall into the Thames River of London, but rather in Lake Havasu City in Arizona on the Colorado River. As crazy as that sounds, it's also true. The bridge was originally built in the 1830s to span the River Thames that cuts through London in England. In 1968 the bridge was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London, dismembered, and shipped off to Arizona where he reassembled it. Today, it is one of the best places in Arizona to visit that is not the Grand Canyon.

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Robert P. McCulloch was a real estate developer and an entrepreneur who thought the bridge would be a great way to attract both tourists and retirement home buyers to his properties.

About The London Bridge

Not many bridges in this world get to be set up in multiple continents over the course of their lifetimes. Robert P. McCulloch wanted the fabled bridge of the nursery rhyme for his Lake Havasu City - which was a planned community he established in 1964 on the shores of Lake Havasu. Today instead of linking the two halves of London it links an island on the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City.

  • Date Built: 1830s
  • Date Purchased: 1968
  • Date Completed: Completed In Arizona With Its Canal In 1971

Built in the 1830s, by 1962 it was no longer sturdy enough to carry the ever-increasing loads of traffic and so London was in need of a new and stronger bridge. The last thing they wanted was for the London Bridge to be falling down. In fact, due to the weight of automobile traffic crossing, the bridge was sinking into the River Thames at a rate of an inch every eight years. By 1924 the east end of the London Bridge was 3 or 4 inches lower than the west side.

  • Why London Sold The Bridge: It Couldn't Bear Modern Traffic Loads

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Indeed after installing the bridge, land sales improved and McCulloch managed to recover all of his expenses of buying, shipping, and reconstructing the bridge. He had actually obtained the land at no cost and so it wasn't hard for the sales of the land to pay for the bridge.

  • Cost Of The Bridge: $2.5 Million (Paid To The City of London)
  • Cost Of Shipping And Reassembly: $7 Million
  • Time To Complete: 3 Years
  • Myth: There Is An Urban Myth That McCullock Thought He Was Buying The Much More Iconic Tower Bridge, But He Always Denied That And There Is No Proof

Today the London Bridge has reportedly become one of Arizona's greatest tourist attractions - although nothing like the must-see Grand Canyon. According to Go Lake Havasu, it is the state's second-largest attraction.

  • Lake Havasu City Population: 52,500

The Lampposts And Reassembling Of The Bridge

Fortunately, the purchase of the bridge included its iconic and ornate lampposts. These were made from melted-down cannons that the British captured from the defeated Napoleanic army at the climatic and decisive Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The British have been celebrating that victory ever since. So if one visits the bridge today one will see these ornate former French cannons-turned-lampposts lining the London Bridge today.

To transport the bridge, it was dismantled into its 10,276 exterior granite blocks and each block was numbered before it was disassembled.

Not all of the bridge is original. Today the inside of the bridge is hollow as it was rebuilt with a steel frame. This had the effect of both massively cutting its weight down from 130,000 tons to 30,000 tons while at the same time it strengthened the bridge - so that today it can handle the car traffic without any problems. The channel underneath the bridge was dredged.

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London Bridge Historic Walking Tour

Today anyone can easily visit the bridge and kayak underneath it. But for those who really want to bring the past to life and learn about the history of this unusual iconic bridge, then consider a walking tour of the bridge. Join a walking tour and learn how the English London Bridge became an Arizonian bridge in the desert.

For individuals who want a self-guided tour of the bridge, then pop into the Visitor Information Center and pick up a free brochure.

  • Season: The Visitor Information Center and Bridge are Open Year Around

There are guided group tours for groups of 10-24 persons. The tours cover around half a mile on foot and take around 90 minutes. This is includes climbing the 51 stairs to the top of the bridge. The tours are conducted with wireless technology and so guests can move away from the tour guide and hear clearly. For those wishing to join a guided group tour, they should call the Visitor Information Center.

  • Season: Guided Group Tours Are From October To April
  • Length of Time: Duration Approx. 90 Minutes

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