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

1 thought on “History? Yeah, We Got That”

  1. The London Bridge holds a special place in my heart. The most ironic part is that as a young boy growing up in a small Pennsylvania town and having never been more than 100 mile away from home and being in grade school it was my turn to read a story to the class from the weekly reader. Of course i read a story about an eccentric millionaire who had bought a bridge in England and planned to rebuild it in the AZ desert. To this day i remember telling myself “thats the stupidest thing i have ever heard” . Then at the age of 26 not remembering the bridge or the story of how it wound up in AZ i moved to Lake Havasu. Not only did i move here but i started to work for the city and actually became one of the maintenance workers who maintained the bridge, hung Christmas decorations on it, changed every light bulb multiple times, have been in every chamber and walked the outside ledges, and even climbed the Turtle Backs to hook the wreaths. Stupid idea? Dam smart i say now! I love Lake Havasu and the London Bridge holds a dear place in my heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *