The relocated and reconstructed London Bridge today is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of that historic span in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
According to a recent newsletter of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, the bridge reopened on Oct. 10, 1971, on the Colorado River.
Lake Havasu City is about 30 miles south of Route 66, but its London Bridge remains a popular side trip — especially among Britons.
The backstory from the newsletter on how the bridge ended up in the desert:
Built in 1831, the bridge began sinking into the Thames River by the middle of the last century due to increasing traffic. Rather than demolish the historic span, it was put up for auction. Robert P. McCullough, the founder of Lake Havasu City, posted the winning bid of $2.4 million. He thought it would attract tourists and potential buyers to his fledgling community.
London Bridge was dismantled and each of the 10,276 granite blocks were numbered and shipped to Arizona. It was reinforced and reassembled. and for the past 50 years has spanned a channel of the Colorado River in Arizona. Like many retirees, the bridge now revels in the Arizona sunshie.
Here’s a BBC documentary about how the bridge was moved:
McCullough knew what he was doing. Lake Havasu City was a sleepy community of 4,000 people in 1970. It’s more than 50,000 now.
Lake Havasu has a cool website about the bridge and its 50th anniversary.
Lake Havasu City is planning a month-long series of celebrations to mark the half-century of the London Bridge there.
(Image of London Bridge courtesy of GoLakeHavasu.com)