Heading to the Heat

David had never been to Lake Havasu City, so I figured we were this close he needed to see the London Bridge.

We left Ajo 10:46 and headed into the heat. We drove through Vicksburg which looked like there was a lot of ranch land. There were tons of feed lots all around. I didn’t expect to go through ranch land.

We arrived in Lake Havasu around 3. This was the hottest place we were at on the whole trip. I am not sure what the temperature was but a lot hotter than Texas or Ajo. You have to love the desert.

A little history on Lake Havasu from Wikipedia:

The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called “Site Six”. during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into “the Island”.

After four years of planning, McCulloch Properties acquired another 13,000 acres of federal land in the surrounding area. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963, by a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. (The act is referenced in resolution #63-12-1.) The city was incorporated in 1978.

I was once told by one of my friends who live in Lake Havasu that it was built just for a retirement town. I believe it because there are a lot of seniors but there are a lot of families too. A lot of the places are just weekend houses and boy are there some fancy houses.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the London Bridge:

The 1831 London Bridge was the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son, John Rennie the Younger.[3] By 1962, the bridge was not sound enough to support the increased load of modern traffic, and it was sold by the City of London.

The purchaser, Robert P. McCulloch, the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, was the founder of Lake Havasu City, his retirement real estate development on the east shore of Lake Havasu, a large reservoir on the Colorado River. McCulloch purchased the bridge as a tourist attraction for Lake Havasu, which was then far from the usual tourist track. The idea was successful, bringing interested tourists and retirement home buyers to the area.

It is a popular rumor that the bridge was bought in the belief that it was London’s more recognizable Tower Bridge,[4][5][6] but this was ardently denied by McCulloch himself and by Ivan Luckin, who sold the bridge.[7]

Originally, the deserted Lake Havasu vacant land was given to the state of Arizona by the U.S. Federal Government. The federal property was an abandoned military landing strip. McCulloch made a deal with the state government and received the property for free with a promise to develop the land. But the real estate agents could not bring in prospective buyers, because the land was far from centers of population and had a very hot, arid climate. McCulloch’s real estate agent, Robert Plumer, learned that London Bridge was for sale and convinced McCulloch to buy it and bring it to the area to attract potential land buyers. The initial response from McCulloch was, “That’s the craziest idea I have ever heard,” but after consideration, he decided to go ahead and purchased it for $2.46m (£1.78m). Plumer then arranged with a cargo shipping company that was going to sail a newly-built ship from Great Britain to the United States without any cargo. Plumer said they would pay for all operating costs of the sailing, which was far less than the going rate shipping costs. The bridge’s facing stones were disassembled, and each was numbered. After the bridge was dismantled, it was transported to Merrivale Quarry where 15 to 20 cm (5.9 to 7.9 inches) were sliced off many of the original stones. The bridge arrived in pieces at the Port of Long Beach, California and was transported overland to Lake Havasu City, where re-assembly began in 1968. On 23 September 1968, the foundation stone was relaid by Sir Gilbert Inglefield, Lord Mayor of London.[8]

The original stonework was used to clad a new concrete structure.[1] The reconstruction took slightly over three years and was completed in late 1971. The bridge was not reconstructed over a river, but rather it was rebuilt on land in a position between the main part of the city and Pittsburgh Point, at that time a peninsula jutting into Lake Havasu. Once completed, the Bridgewater Channel Canal was dredged under the bridge and flooded, separating Pittsburgh Point from the city, creating an island. As a result, the bridge now traverses a navigable shortcut between the Thompson Bay part of Lake Havasu south of Pittsburgh Point, and the remainder of Lake Havasu to the north.[9]

After the bridge was reconstructed, prospective buyers of land were attracted to visit the bridge and take a tour of properties for sale. Land sales improved, and McCulloch recouped all his expenses on the purchase and shipping of the bridge. Since he had obtained the land at no cost, the sale of the properties paid for the bridge and more. Recent years have seen much development in the area of the bridge to increase tourist interest. The original “English Village”, a quaint English-style open-air mall with hedge maze and historical museum deteriorated, with sections leveled. A revitalization of the English Village was undertaken by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau.[10] Condos were proposed in 2011 by the owner, Virtual Realty Enterprises.[11

My friend, George, told me about the rumor that McCulloch thought he was actually buying the Tower Bridge in London. I can believe this because I bet a lot of American’s think that there is only one bridge. I did until I lived in England. What do you think? Is the rumor the truth?

After visiting the bridge we walked across the street for a beer. I needed it after the heat or maybe it was just the air conditioning I needed. I think it was a bit of each.

Our little Sue Bee Honey is doing just great on her first road trip after 19 years.

Our friend in Ajo, Kat, told us to be sure and fill up because gas was expensive in California. We did as she suggested and are glad we did gas went up a $1.00. The hotels were more expensive too.

I caught the sunset on the way to our next hotel.

We stopped in Palmdale, California for the night. It was an end of another wonderful day of our road trip home.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Author: olehippies

I am a freelance travel writer and photographer. I love to travel with my loving husband. I like to see how the locals live better than going on tours. I love reading and will be reviewing books for everyone.

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