Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT London Bridge Isn't Falling Down. It's In Arizona!
London Bridge Isn't Falling Down. It's In Arizona! PDF Print E-mail

Have you ever wondered if anyone ever fell for the old sales pitch, “Would you like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?” Well, if you’ve been to the little Arizona town of Lake Havasu City, you’ll see evidence that such a bridge sale actually happened. Back in 1962, some British sharpies decided the old, original London Bridge across the Thames River was, like the song says, falling down. It had been built in 1831 to carry horse carriages, but the flow of modern auto and truck traffic was gradually sending it stone by stone into the river.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ


So, what could they do about it? They didn’t have the money to build a new one. Then the Lord Mayor of London or some bridge official had a great idea. Let’s sell it to the Colonies. Anyhow, he said, they still owe us for dumping all that tea into Boston harbor, and there must be Yankees over there dumb enough to buy a falling-down bridge.

Although there was no eBay in those days for peddling old bridges and holy faces on toast to online suckers, the Londoners proved to be absolutely right. Some people in Lake Havasu with too much money and insane love for anything old thing British, including a billionaire oil mogul, shelled out nearly 2.5 million bucks for the old London Bridge.

So, in 1968, the old, crumbling structure was taken apart block by block, then shipped from England, through the Panama Canal, 10,000 miles away to Long Beach, California, docks. It went by convoy of heavy trucks to Lake Havasu City, where it was reconstructed in all of its grungy grey glory. The Lord Mayor of London was barely able to suppress a sneer when he officially laid the cornerstone in a welcome ceremony.

The bridge was officially open to traffic three years later, and since then, as many as 15 tourists on a busy day visit the historic site and spend as much as five bucks at nearby tourist trap shops and burger joints. The rumor is that Havasu is the local Native American word meaning “he who resembles large lollipop”.

Several years ago, while making a pit stop in Lake Havasu City on my way from Phoenix to Las Vegas, I went looking for the London Bridge. I couldn’t find it, so I asked a local where it was. He gave me an insulted look and said, “You’re standing in front of it.” So, next time you happen to be passing through Havasu, well, the rest is up to you.

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