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LONDON BRIDGE - Beat the Heat SPECIAL $20off in May!
Enjoy an Air-conditioned
journey to the London Bridge. Lunch, bottled water and a visit to the town of
Oatman Mining Camp is also included.
How did the world famous London Bridge come to make its unusual home in Arizona? The tale of how the bridge came to Lake Havasu City began over 5,400 miles away in London, England.
The bridge’s storied past includes previous structures that spanned the same section of the Thames River before the current bridge was built. The old London Bridge of nursery-rhyme fame was built by Peter of Colechurch between 1176 and 1209, replacing an earlier timber bridge. Due to uneven construction, the bridge required frequent repair. The bridge survived more than 600 years.
One of the more grisly periods of the bridge’s history was at the southern gateway between 1305 and 1660 when it was customary to display the severed heads of traitors, impaled on pikes and dipped in tar to preserve them against the elements. The head of William Wallace was the first to appear on the gate. Other famous heads on pikes included those of Jake Cade in 1450, Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher in 1535, and Thomas Cromwell in 1540. A German visitor to London in 1598 counted over 30 heads on the bridge. The practice was finally stopped in 1660 following the Restoration of King Charles II.
By the end of the 18th century, it was apparent that the old London Bridge needed to be replaced. It was narrow and decrepit, and blocked river traffic. Designed in 1799 by Scottish engineer John Rennie, the new London Bridge was completed in 1831. As time passed, the new bridge began sinking at a rate of an inch (3 cm) every eight years. By 1924, the east side of the bridge was some 3 to 4 inches (102 mm) lower than the west side. The bridge had not been designed to withstand 20th century automotive traffic.
In 1967, the Common Council of the City of London began to look for potential buyers for the London Bridge. Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2,460,000 on April 18, 1968. McCulloch came by this figure by doubling the estimated cost of dismantling the structure, which was $1.2 million, bringing the price to $2.4 million. He then added on $60,000 -- a thousand dollars for each year of his age at the time he estimated the bridge would be reconstructed in Arizona. (Contrary to popular belief, McCulloch was not under the impression that he was purchasing the Tower Bridge.) Each block was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. Following reconstruction of the London Bridge, Lake Havasu City rededicated it in a ceremony on October 10, 1971.
The London Bridge, Arizona’s tourism’s second largest attraction after the Grand Canyon, attracts thousands of visitors each year and is a popular stroll for people on romantic getaways in Arizona.
LONDON BRIDGE TOUR
Approx. 6 1/2 hours
11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
$99 $79 Includes Oatman Mining Camp, and lunch.
Times & pricing subject to change without notice.