London Bridge, Arizona

Once we entered the state of Arizona the first thing we did was to exit at a rest area. The weather was so hot in the southern part and even though the breeze was strong the sun was hot. After resting a little bit and Mom bringing out our snacks. Me and Deelow ate most of it while Mom kept drinking her water for really the weather sucks. Following the GPS we drove along I-40 and after an hour or so we exit Highway 95 and passed by the Desert Mountains and hills and little by little establishments started showing up and after an hour we finally reached the main part of the city. From the outskirts to the downtown the city looked relatively new and it was busy.

There were vehicles driving around and with a weather of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit people were still plenty. But most of the population we think were bathing at the Lake Havasu by the London Bridge. The bridge was distinguishable because of its architecture and here is a brief history of the bridge before coming to Arizona.

London Bridge (Part I)

“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.

Claude_de_Jongh_-_View_of_London_Bridge_-_Google_Art_Project_bridge
London Bridge 1632

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 Jack 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.

London-bridge-1682
London Bridge 1682

As time passed, the new bridge began sinking at the rate of an inch (3 cm) every eight years. By 1924, the east side of the bridge was some three to four inches (9-12 cm) lower than the west side. The bridge had not been designed to withstand 20th century automotive traffic.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.”

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Demolition of the Bridge

We found a parking spot in the crowded area and to the Visitor Center. The heat was terrible and lack of the trees around the area makes it much worse. The Visitor Center was closed and to escape from the heat we went down under the bridge but there was really nothing to see except for the people walking around holding ice creams.

City Founders

Then we came across the monuments of the founders of Lake Havasu, Robert P. McCullock Sr. and C.V. Wood Jr. Here is the beginning of the history of the city.

“Before Lake Havasu City was known for its world famous London Bridge, lake, miniature lighthouses and beautiful Bridgewater Channel (commonly known as “The Channel”), its future site was an empty expanse of Arizona desert. Lake Havasu was formed by the construction of the Parker Dam from 1934-1938. The reservoir created nearly 450 miles of shoreline and was filled to its capacity of 211 billion gallons of water in 1940-1942.

In 1963, Robert McCulloch, owner of McCulloch Motors, was flying over Lake Havasu looking for a place to test his outboard engines. He thought that the land surrounding Lake Havasu had great potential for an emerging city. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963 by resolution #63-12-1 as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, making it a legal entity. McCulloch and developer C.V. Wood joined efforts and founded what would be a thriving community. C.V. Wood had previously designed the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California. After four years, a total of 16,520 acres were acquired and prepared for lease.”

We took a picture of the monument and the plaques around it then we went back to the car and drove to the other side and parked by the Island Mall and Brewery. We there were stairs in this side and the blue waters of the lake was very tempting. Sweat were dripping from body and I do wanted to swim. So the three of us were supposed to head to the stairs leading to the lake when Mom suddenly fainted. Luckily, they were near a post and Deelow managed to catch her and sat her down. I ran down to the convenient store and bought some ice. When she regained consciousness we were relived and we put her underneath of the sprinklers with water mists coming out from it. As we rest here is the rest of bridge’s history.

London Bridge (Part 2)

“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.

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.

Since then, it has consistently remained a favorite among Arizona attractions, drawing in visitors from around the globe.”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.”

After that unpleasant experience we decided to leave the area and the city. But first we decided to visit a park in the city Wheeler Park.

Wheeler Park

What attracted me to this place was the historic significance the memorial to the Veterans of the wars. Mom already recovered even though she still felt tired so Deelow stayed with her in the car. I went down myself and did a quick look around of the park and took some pictures. Here is the dedication of the memorial.

“December 15, 1965
James A. Wheeler Park and Freedom Fountain

Dedicated to Captain James A. Wheeler, United States Air Force, Tucson, Arizona, and all members of the armed services who have given their lives in the maintenance of freedom. Captain Wheeler was killed in combat April 18, 1965, over South Viet Nam, prior to the founding of Lake Havasu City February 1, 1964, the city’s airport area was known as site six, an Air Force facility during World War II. The park and fountain commemorate this Air force heritage. “

After visiting the park we drove out of the city because we have more places to go to. Leaving behind a piece of history and though I never been to the United Kingdom I already felt that I’ve been there. But the crazy weather on that city killed any of my hopes of going back here. We drove back to Highway 95 and back to I-40 heading East to our next city, Kingman.

Here are the links for more information:

https://golakehavasu.com/activities/attractions/london-bridge/

https://golakehavasu.com/about-us/city-history/

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9296_Vietnam_War_Memorial_Wheeler_Park_Lake_Havasu_City_AZ

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