London Bridge Graffiti Mystery Solved

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Thousands of visitors each year sign up for a walking tour of the London Bridge led by local historian Jan Kassies, director of visitor services of the Lake Havasu City Visitor Information Center. The most fascinating part of the tour besides seeing the bullet holes from the London Blitz of WWII, is the graffiti left by two previously unknown American soldiers. We’re happy to report the mystery of the graffiti has been solved.

On the Island-side of the bridge, near the abutment, two names are etched into the centuries-old stone:

Aug. 1942
Sgt. Fitzwater
Pfc. Smith

According to a story in Today’s News-Herald by Brandon Messick on Oct. 16, the letters were etched during World War II, when two American soldiers, of the 1st Infantry Division, were participating in field maneuvers with British commandos in Scotland. They visited the London Bridge while on weekend leave, and left their mark.

Merrill Fitzwater became a Montana State Game Warden after the war, until his retirement in 1978. He and his wife learned that the London Bridge had been bought and transported to Lake Havasu City, and Fitzwater stopped to see the bridge several times while visiting his daughter in Tucson. He’d left his name on another continent, only for it to follow him home 20 years after the war ended, reports Today’s News-Herald.

“His name on the stone is there, as if to say: ‘we were here,’” Kassies said.

Now in his 90s, Fitzwater is mostly deaf and resides in Montana, adds Kassies, a former educator from the Netherlands.

Take the London Bridge walking tour and be sure to ask Jan to show you where two members of the Greatest Generation left their marks.

Tours are scheduled 11 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from October-April. For more information, contact the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau at 928 453 3444.

Read the local newspaper story about the mystery here:
Etched in history: Montana man carved name near London Bridge abutment in 1942

Learn more about the London Bridge at golakehavasu.com

History? Yeah, We Got That

London Bridge Construction

Fifty years, give or take, is not very long considering New York, Philadelphia or Boston, but it is long enough for Lake Havasu to receive some loving from The History Channel. History, the American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by A&E Networks, recently focused on how the London Bridge ended up in Arizona. In a story posted by Evan Andrews on Oct. 7, the reporter explains that in 1968 industrialist Robert McCulloch was desperate for a way to draw tourists to the fledgling resort town, and he found it half a world away in England, which had placed its iconic London Bridge on the auction block.

“In one of the most harebrained marketing schemes in history, McCulloch bought the 19th century monument, shipped it across the ocean and reassembled it piece-by-piece in the desert,” Andrews writes.

The rest is, well, history.

In April 1968, for a final price of $2,460,000, Robert McCulloch became the proud owner of the world’s largest antique. The bridge was disassembled, packed away in crates and shipped to Long Beach, Calif., via the Panama Canal. From there, a small army of trucks carried it across the desert to its new home at Lake Havasu.

Andrews reveals the little-known fact that McCulloch dedicated the bridge in a ceremony that included skydivers, fireworks, marching bands, hot air balloons and a dinner banquet featuring lobster and roast beef – the same meal that had been served to King William IV during the bridge’s original unveiling in 1831.

There was a rumor – since discredited – that the Americans had been duped into thinking they were buying the more iconic Tower Bridge. But McCulloch was too smart for that.

Read the entire story here: How London Bridge Ended Up In Arizona

Zombies. Are. Coming. October 15.

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If you think chasing monsters on your smartphone is a silly pastime (see previous story), then what do you think about being chased by them? We know you will have a memorable evening by dressing like the living dead, the undead, the walking dead, or an odiferous, soulless corpse and shambling down main street. But don’t worry, instead of chasing brains, Havasu zombies chase down beer!

Ok, here’s a joke:
Q. What does it take to become a zombie?
A: DEADication!

Ha, we crack ourselves up sometimes! You’ll be amused as well if you join your closest speechless, mindless best fiends for a night of horror at the free-to-attend 6th Annual Havasu Zombie Pub Crawl, October 15, along Downtown McCulloch Blvd. (Main Street).

Starting at 7 p.m., join the horde invading Downtown Havasu on the hunt for fresh brains and flesh during this bloody seven-hour pub crawl.
Zombies of all ages and stages of decay are welcome. Feel free to organize your own zombie fun with designated victims, flash mobs, sidewalk dances, or apocalypse sidewalk scenes. Are you a zombie family? Bring your zombie kids – the event is not just for old zombies.
There’s lots of cool places on McCulloch to grab a beer, food, munchies, coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, listen to live music, dance, or entertain onlookers with your friends. Or order some rum and brandy Zombie drinks.

Knock yourself out, but heed Surf Zombie Nate’s advice. Says the Zombie Crawl creator/promoter: “Remember, zombies that drink do not drive, otherwise they could become, er, deader. See the full list of shuttle companies and phone numbers available on the official Facebook page, updated and posted just prior to the event.”

Sound like fun? The more the zombier!

For more information view: www.golakehavasu.com

Lake Havasu City Makes News

KABC’s Eye on LA showed us some loving in early May with a feature segment on the region, saying of the lake, “It’s a short trip to long summer days powered by pure adrenaline and H2O.”

Look closely and you’ll see Tony Beck of River Cyclery & Sport, Jeff Prieur from Champion Boat & Jet Ski, Maryann Abdon of Western Arizona Canoe & Kayak Outfitters, Dallas Finch of Cabana Boat, and Kenny Samp of Sunset Charter & Tour Co.

Scroll down to May 11 to see the story at:

https://www.facebook.com/lakehavasucityarizona/?fref=nf

Meanwhile, over at KMIR, the NBC affiliate in Palm Desert, Calif., Vince Marino had a blast in town, telling viewers, “One of the perks of living in the desert is the proximity to world class vacation destinations and there is no better example of that than Lake Havasu City. The drive is a breeze and although the desert landscape is barren, the open road is half the fun. In fact, the hardest part of visiting Lake Havasu is deciding how you’ll spend your time here.”

Marino made stops at Makai Café, Shugrue’s, Whett Rods, London Bridge Resort, and Nautical Beachfront Resort.  It all looks so good, it made us want to visit Lake Havasu City ourselves, except, duh! We already live here, lucky us.

Watch the coverage at:

http://www.kmir.com/story/32021759/amazing-may-day-tripping-to-havasu

Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club Lights the Night

Lake Havasu lighthouse

Meet Bruce Howe who has just taken over running the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club. He’ll be the one dedicating a new, scale replica of the Dunkirk, N.Y. lighthouse soon.

“I am hoping to do as good a job keeping the club going as its founders have,” Bruce told us.  “I have much to learn and much to do finding more members to fill the ranks and keep the club going.”

The  (not quite) exact replica of the Dunkirk, N.Y. light will be placed on the island at The Islander Resort for dedication at the London Bridge Days Parade and celebration on Oct. 25.

Read more about the Lake Havasu lighthouses on the Lake Havasu City CVB website.

Havasu Future Foundation Receives Non-Profit Status

havasu_future_foundation_logo_SM
The Havasu Future Foundation, established in 2013, will become a fundraising arm for our community to construct visionary projects that enhance quality of life and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way. Recently it received the best news of all.

The HFF recently received word that it is now officially recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt, charitable organization. Through this nonprofit status, all donations it receives are tax deductible for the donor.

The foundation recently held a design competition to develop a logo that is a visionary artistic play on the London Bridge, which could be looked at as the roots of our community as well as the springboard for future success building the foundation.  “The logo hints of a second bridge to The Island to come someday, along with a more robust economy that could support such an endeavor,” said Bob McClory, foundation chairman.

The colors are the official brand colors for Lake Havasu City.

“Sticker A Mussel” a Success

Sticker a mussel law.
This summer has been setting records for the number of boats launched on Lake Havasu. People come from all over to boat here, then trailer their boats home. We’re making sure people don’t transmit invasive Quagga mussels back home when they do, and the program has been a great success.

Lake Havasu Marine Association (LHMA) volunteers are helping to guide boat traffic at launch ramps, while at the same time teaching boaters how prevent the spread of quaggas by cleaning, draining and drying their boats. This quick course is what earns visitors the “Don’t Move A Mussel” sticker that will help them breeze through the various checkpoints set up by state and federal authorities in the region.

July results are just coming in, but as of June, over 6,200 trailers have been stickered, with the majority coming from California. Over 1,000 boats passed through inspection stations on the 4th of July weekend alone, so look for that total to be way up by the next Sticker A Mussel update.

It’s all about keeping other bodies of water uncontaminated by invasive species. If you don’t have a sticker, it’s time to get one. Find out more about the Lake Havasu Marine Association and the “Sticker A Mussel” campaign.

The Life Aquatic

Aquatic Center pool in Lake Havasu City

The city-owned Aquatic Center in the C.V. Wood Community Center, which already has an indoor waterslide, two heated pools, a wave pool, lap pool and outdoor splash area for visitors and locals alike, is now getting even better.

Enjoying the west’s most popular lake is one way to splash in the water and have fun, but not the only way. On the hottest, sunniest days, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy some wet, indoor fun. The Aquatic Center on 100 Park Avenue offers regularly scheduled adult aquatic fitness classes and children’s swimming lessons held in a controlled, wake- and creature-free water environment. Lifeguard-patrolled and temperature-regulated, the Aquatic Center is the perfect change of pace from the lake.

Pardon the dust, but between now and mid-June, the AC will renovate its outdoor splash pad with a new color concrete deck that will add to its visual appeal.

Then in 2015, plans call for renovation of its popular water slide, according to Mark Clark, PE, PTOE, Lake Havasu City Maintenance Services Division Manager.

The AC also features the largest rentable meeting area in Lake Havasu City available for private functions. The Relics and Rods Hall can seat 1,100 and is a huge 9,728 square feet of space. So pack a bathing suit the next time you go there for an event.

For more information: call 928-453-8686 or visit the the CVB website.

The Lake Drawdown: Some Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain

Parker Dam
Repair work on the Parker Dam will lower levels on Lake Havasu through mid-February.

Beginning this month, the Bureau of Reclamation began lowering the water level of Lake Havasu for approximately eight weeks to repair the trash racks at Parker Dam. But there are ways for boaters to remain unaffected if they follow these tips.The drawdown will result in the lake reaching a depth of 445 feet by mid-December, remaining there until mid-February 2014.

While Lake Havasu is normally lowered during winter months for river management activities, seasonal fluctuations typically range from about 445.8 to 449.5 feet. The lake level will remain at about 445.0 feet until work on the trash racks is completed. However, due to unforeseen circumstances caused by operational or environmental conditions, the lake level may vary from that low point during this period.

During the drawdown, Reclamation will repair and replace deteriorating components of the Parker Dam outer forebay trash rack structure – the first of two systems that filter debris and weeds from the lake to protect the power generation facilities at the dam. The current trash racks, original to Parker Dam, are 75 years old and have deteriorated beyond repair.

The Lake Havasu Marine Association suggests that the Lake Havasu State Park ramps and ramps at Cattail Cove State Park will remain relatively normal since they extend further and are dredged deeper.

Jim Salscheider, president of the association, advises it’s a good idea to call ahead before docking at day marinas where the water could be tighter. Heavy rain this winter will greatly alleviate the situation during the dam repairs.

River rocks and sandbars could be exposed a little more than typical. “Be more cautious, tilt your drives up, and pay increased attention to your depth finder, especially on the river,” he advises.
“We know improvements at the dam are done out of necessity and in the long run it makes for a better lake and river. It’s a matter of some short term pain for long term gain,” he says.

For additional information regarding the Lake Havasu drawdown and the Parker Dam repairs, contact the Water Operations Control Center at 702 293 8373, or visit the Bureau of Reclamation website.

Rotary Park Has Another “Feeture” Coming Soon

 

Sandy Feet
Walking barefoot on the beach in Rotary Community Park is now more comfortable.

In addition to the other improvements to the park, one new “feeture” was a long time coming.The Lake Havasu City Council has approved a plan to improve the sand at Rotary Beach. In late July, contractors began work to remove sand, sift rocks from the top 18 inches of beach, put that sand back and then added about 1,300 additional cubic yards of sand removed from the parking area.

In this case, no imported white sand was brought to the beach. With those pesky rocks removed, we don’t know about your feet, but ours can’t wait to try it out.