London Bridge -- Lake Havasu City AZ
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 34° 28.352 W 114° 20.790
11S E 743711 N 3817747
Quick Description: The 1831 London Bridge was sold to an American oil tycoon in 1968, who moved it from downtown London to the desert at Lake Havasu City. The bridge was reassembled and formally opened in its new home in 1971 by the then-Lord Mayor of London.
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 9/5/2014 8:29:12 AM
Waymark Code: WMMDJ5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bon Echo
Views: 10

Long Description:
Contrary to folklore, businessman Robert McCullogh did NOT mistakenly think he was buying London's Tower Bridge when he bought London Bridge. :)

The story of how this bridge made its way from London to Arizona (and some details of the reopening) can be found here: (visit link)

"How the London Bridge Ended Up in Arizona
A town of 52,000 people has called the famous bridge its own since 1971.
by Mark Byrnes

In 1962, the London Bridge (131-years-old at the time) was discovered to be sinking into the Thames, unable to handle 21st century traffic demands. By 1971, it was reborn in a new planned community of 8,000 people ... in Arizona.

Robert McCulloch, founder of the Lake Havasu City, won the old bridge with a $2,460,000 bid at the City of London's auction in 1968. McCulloch then spent another $7 million to have it moved to the community he established in 1964.

The bridge's exterior granite blocks were numbered and transported by ship, then rebuilt over a reinforced concrete structure built on land in-between the main part of the city and Pittsburgh Point, a peninsula connected to Lake Havasu. After the bridge was reconstructed, the Bridgewater Channel Canal was dredged under the bridge and flooded.

It was officially dedicated at a ceremony on October 10, 1971. A Los Angeles Times report at the time called it "a bizarre ceremony combining hoary English pomp and Arizona informality." McCulloch, Sir Peter M. Studd, lord mayor of London, "other London officials, their ladies and 17th century pikemen" were in attendance, along with 25,000 spectators.

McCulloch, who died six years later, hoped the bridge would turn Lake Havasu City into a tourist magnet, anchoring a complex filled with shops, restaurants and hotels. While the "English Village" built next to the bridge often leaves visitors disappointed, the town continues to grow, its population now at 52,000 and the bridge still its main attraction."

Blasterz heard from a Chamber of Commerce lady at the "Little London" English village that the London Bridge is Arizona's second most-popular tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon!

The public can walk or drive across the bridge. Free parking is available nearby at the Little London English Village shops.

The bemused British reaction to all this can be enjoyed here: (visit link)

"A trip to see London Bridge … in Arizona
by Travis Elborough
The Observer, Saturday 2 February 2013

In 1971 Robert P McCulloch bought London Bridge and shipped it to a small desert town. But, as our writer finds, the pre-Victorian masterpiece is very much at home on the Colorado River in the heart of Mojave County

Lake Havasu City lies by the Colorado River on a 45-mile stretch of clear water amid the desert peaks of western Arizona. It is about 150 miles from Las Vegas and a seven-hour drive from Los Angeles. In summer the temperature has been known to reach 50C. The landscape is characterised by arid expanses of loamy sand, bare red rock and eroded sediment, while the local flora – cat claws, bursage and mesquite – pokes out of the dusty ground like bristles on a hog. A more unlikely setting for a 19th-century British architectural landmark can't really be imagined. And yet John Rennie's London Bridge has called Lake Havasu City home since 1971, the year of my own birth. Captivated since childhood by the story of its transplantation, I vowed to visit it.

Preparing for the trip, I was excited to read about the so-called "English Village", a mini London theme park beside the bridge. And on arriving at its south bank, bridge seekers are greeted by silver City of London griffins, a diminutive Trafalgar Square fountain attended by Lilliputian Landseer lions and a red phone box. Sadly, a British pub, once famed for serving imported Watneys Red Barrel in tankards, was boarded up and awaiting demolition, while a Routemaster bus that had long stood at the foot of the bridge, serving as an ice cream van, has been banished to a dusty breakers' yard.

If the English Village was severely depleted, London Bridge, by contrast, looked surprisingly well. Studying old postcards, it had always appeared rather dowdy to me. But freed from the confines of a smoky hugger-mugger cityscape, Rennie's neoclassical crossing seemed regal, majestic even, under a blazing midday Arizona sun. Compellingly, the stonework still bears smudges of soot and patches of graffiti – some legibly dating from the time of the Blitz. All of which rather poignantly attests to the bridge's distinguished service in the smoke. And in such intense heat, there's pleasing surreality to spying a manufacturer's casting mark at the base of a lamp that reads: "T Potter & Sons, South Moulton St W".

The bridge's fantastical journey from rain-drenched Southwark to dust-dry Mojave County began in 1967, when the Corporation of London put it up for sale. Fashioned for posterity in 130,000 tons of granite in 1831, the span was calculated to be sinking at a rate of an ?th of an inch a year by the early 1960s. Its eventual purchasers (and also the founding fathers of Lake Havasu City), Robert P McCulloch and CV Wood, are immortalised in a statue at the northern end of the bridge. McCulloch was a flamboyant millionaire oil baron and chainsaw magnate who hatched a scheme to build a new city out here in the desert in 1963. The actual idea of buying London Bridge at a cost of $2,460,000 (£1,029,400 10s 4½d old money) came from Wood, his business partner. Previously the planner behind Disneyland, Wood felt it would put the place on the map. He was proved right. Today, 50 years after it was established, the city has more than 53,000 residents. Those numbers are bolstered every winter with the arrival of seasonal retirees known as "snow birds". In turn, each spring they are replaced by thousands of college students who flock here to party on the lake. Adverts for pasties – those little fez hats for nipples worn by sorority girls – are displayed outside waterfront gift shops. As are posters for the horror movie Piranha 3D, which was filmed here in 2009.

When it comes to the tale, cherished by London cab drivers, that the Americans thought they were buying Tower Bridge, locals are dismissive. At the Lake Havasu City Visitor Bureau, Jan Kassies insists the story hailed from McCulloch himself. "He made that up. He was a jokester. He did it just to get the media attention." A Dutch retiree who emigrated here a decade ago, Kassies stresses that the lake itself was their biggest attraction. Most visitors come here to fish, swim or go jet skiing or speed-boating.

Over at the Lake Havasu Museum of History on London Bridge Road (its entrance guarded by a life-size model of a Beefeater), two of the town's oldest residents, Lyle and Stellene Matzdorff, are proud to call themselves pioneers, and remember the hardships of the early days. "That first year," Lyle recalls, "there was nothing here, and I mean nothing. Most people were living in tents. The nearest store was a 60-mile round drive." It was touch and go for a while. "But then McCulloch bought London Bridge and people started saying: 'The town is going to make it; you don't buy London Bridge for nothing.' Things picked up after that."

If London Bridge secured Lake Havasu City's future back then, it's perhaps inevitable that today it has settled into being an accepted, and slightly unremarkable, part of the furniture. Instead, all the excitement that evening at the Desert Martini bar – a Havasu institution – was being generated by a local festival, the annual lighting of Cupcake Mountain. This autumn ritual involves the illumination of a mountain on the nearby Whipple Range whose crown is periodically frosted with snow. It is an event, as one drinker puts it, "that folks in these parts all look forward to".

Newcomers and visitors, however, tend to get confused by it. "The police," Kassies tells me, "get a lot of calls about UFOs." He smiles and then adds impishly: "Well, we assume it's Cupcake Mountain, but it could be UFOs. You have to get used to seeing strange things around here – I mean, we are the home of London Bridge."

The rebuilt London Bridge was opened in a big ceremony by the then Lord Mayor of London, the Right Honorable Sir Peter M. Studd.

From Wikipedia: (visit link)

"Sir Peter Malden Studd GBE KCVO MA DSc DL - (September 15, 1916 – 2003) was an English cricketer and the 643rd Lord Mayor of London.

Peter Malden Studd was the son of Brigadier Malden A. Studd.

Sir Peter Studd was the Lord Mayor of the City of London between 1970–1971 and an executive of De La Rue, the banknote printing company; as a young man he was an outstanding cricketer, captaining both the Harrow and Cambridge teams.

Studd was a great nephew of the famous Studd brothers who all captained Cambridge at Cricket. One of the brothers, Kynaston was also Lord Mayor of London.

During his mayoralty was the re-opening of the transplanted London Bridge at Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The old bridge, which dated from 1831, had been sold by the City authorities for £1,025,000, and shipped to America to become the centrepiece of a new community.

As Alderman Sheriff of the City of London in 1967, Studd and his wife attended the laying of the foundation stone and in October 1970 he returned in full regalia to join the state governor in an opening ceremony which featured a Lord Mayor's procession.

Peter Malden Studd was born September 15, 1916.

. . .

It was Studd's hope that he might be remembered for his work as leader of the campaign to save the structure of St Paul's Cathedral.

The roof and fabric of the building had suffered from the ravages of time and the constant vibration from the London traffic. During his mayoralty he was able to help raise £3 million towards the project and for him was a highlight of his year of office. His fundraising efforts were impressive and he was even able to persuade President Richard Nixon to be the project's patron in America. As a result money flooded in, including one donation of $10 from an American pensioner who had visited the cathedral during the First World War in 1917.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother attended the celebrations at Mansion House which were held as a tribute to Sir Peter just before he left office."
What was opened/inaugurated?: The relocated and rebuilt 1831 London Bridge

Who was that opened/inaugurated it?: The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Peter M. Studd

Date of the opening/inauguration?: 10 Oct 1971

Website about the location: [Web Link]

Website about the person: [Web Link]

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