Lake Havasu City, Arizona is home to the 19th century London Bridge.
The bridge was created in 1831 as the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son John Rennie the Younger. For 131 years, the London Bridge spanned the River Thames in London until, in 1962, it was decided that it was not sound enough to support the weight and the heavy demands of modern traffic. While it was not the first “London Bridge” to cross the River Thames, it was the last stone bridge to span it.
So what did the city with a famous bridge decide to do? Sell it of course! The Common Council of the City of London decided to put the London Bridge up for sale. The buyer was American entrepreneur Robert McCulloch who founded Lake Havasu and was looking for a unique attraction for the new city. On April 18, 1968, he placed the winning bid of $2,460,000, making it “the largest antique ever sold” according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The bridge was broken down into three-ton granite blocks (the bridge itself was created with 10,276 blocks). Each block was marked for easier recreation. It was then shipped to Long Beach, California via the Panama Canal before being trucked to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The reconstruction process was quite tedious and was reassembled in the exact same order of the original design by Rennie. By the time the bridge was dismantled, shipped and reconstructed, the cost was over $5,000,000. It was completed in 1971 with a re-dedication ceremony on October 10 of that year.
In Arizona, the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City is reportedly the second-largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon.
Frederic B. Wildfang, Images of America: Lake Havasu City, Arcadia Publishing, 2005, 107-122.
Lake Havasu City