Thursday, January 14, 2010
Road trip.......Lake Havasu City, AZ., day 1, part 2
Is not falling down..........
Leaving Quartzsite on Rte 95, and heading north for about 70 miles, you will see Lake Havasu City, which connects AZ to a California island, via the London Bridge......... As strange as it sounds, it's true. This five-arch bridge that spans the Bridgewater Channel on the Arizona side of Lake Havasu is the real deal. It's the creation of Englishman John Rennie and originally built in 1825 to span the River Thames.
Not the Tower Bridge that certainly comes to mind, but one of the London Bridges just the same. Almost a 200 year old piece of masonry that shares in the other London Bridges reputation for falling, burning, sinking, or being torn down. In Lake Havasu City, AZ., the London Bridge spans a small man-made channel connecting Arizona to an island once used as an army air field in California.
So how did it get here? In the early 60's, Robert McCulloch Sr. who's company produced outboard motors, small engines, etc...and worked on the California island, imagined developing a town that could be used as a recreational destination. While building up the town, now known as Lake Havasu City, he realized he needed a tourist attraction to draw people here. Finding out that a London Bridge was condemned to demolition and put up for sale on the world market as a piece of English history, McCulloch's $2.5 million bid sealed the deal. He now had his tourist attraction..... Dismantled, each stone was numbered and shipped. It took three years and approx $7.5 million to ship and reconstruct over dry land. The blocks were re-assembled like a jigsaw puzzle with the help of huge mounds of sand and dirt. Once completed, the dirt was then dredged from underneath the arches, forming a one-mile channel. Then the waters of Lake Havasu were allowed to flow through the channel for the first time in August 1971. Officially dedicated on October 10th, 1971, over 100,000 people, including the Lord Mayor of London, attended the hugh celebration and marvel. Bring on the tourists!