Sunday, October 21, 2012

London Bridge moved from England to Arizona

I was very excited to visit the world famous London Bridge that had been moved block by block from London, England to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

 As a child I remember playing London Bridge is Falling Down with my friends. We would choose two of us to face each other and join hands and lift our arms up forming an arch. The other kids would run under our arms while we recited the generation old nursery rhyme London Bridge. The words are London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down my fair lady. Our friends would hurry through our arch and circle around us to go again until at the last of the words, the two  of us holding hands, forming the arch, would drop our arms capturing one of the friends. We then would swing them between our arms singing Take a key and lock her up, lock her up, take a key and lock er up, my fair lady. There are many more verses but we didn't know them so we just kept going over and over till everyone was caught.

Over the centuries several bridges have been built over the Thames River in England. The Old London Bridge that is of the nursery rhyme notoriety was built between 1176 and 1209.  It was built to replace an old timber bridge. By the end of the 18th century, after 600 years, it needed to be replaced. During these years it needed frequent repairs that were blamed on uneven construction. 

A new bridge was built and referred to as the new London Bridge. It was completed in 1831. The new bridge had not been designed to carry the 20th century automobile traffic and as time passed, it began sinking until one side of the bridge was lower than the other. In 1967, The Common Council of the City of London put the bridge up for sale.

The winning bid for the bridge was awarded to Lake Havasu City founder, Robert. P. McCulloch on April 18, 1968. The bid was for $2,460,000. The bridge was dismantled and every block was carefully numbered. The blocks were then shipped through the Panama Canal to California and then transported by truck from Long Beach to Arizona where the bridge was reconstructed over the Bridgewater Channel. 

The bridge was rededicated in a ceremony on October 10, 1971. The entire cost including transportation and reassembly brought the total for the bridge to $5.1 million. One interesting fact about the bridge is that when it was rebuilt almost 60 feet of it's original 1005 feet were removed and it's now shorter than it's original version. 

Now after the reconstruction of the London Bridge, it is definitely not falling down. When it was reconstructed it was built with the knowledge that automobile traffic needed to be accommodated. With this is mind, a steel framework was used in the granite rather than using solid granite blocks. It is built to be in place for a very long time. In fact the bridge has become home to hundreds of bats who now live in the nooks and crannies of the hollow interior.

Near the London Bridge is a delightful English Village. As you enter you will see this statue.

The plaque on the monument reads: The boundary of the City of London, England, established in Roman times, is marked by a heraldic dragon at each entry by freeway. This dragon marks the boundary of the City of London Land in Lake Havasu City.

When I wandered around the village, one of my favorite shops was the Candle Factory. I brought home some  fun drip candles to entertain the granddaughters. They were a big hit as we watched the neon colored candles drip down the bottle.

The water around the bridge is a lovely clear blue and it's filled with lots of ducks that people come by to feed.

The trees are filled with  birds that add a lovely ambiance to the whole area. 

Note the vintage lamp on the bridge. These lamps are made from melted down cannons of Napoleon Bonaparte's army. A nice historic touch to the famous bridge.

With such historical bragging rights is should be no surprise that the London Bridge is said to be haunted. Visitors have claimed to see a British police bobby patrolling the bridge and a woman in black roaming during the night. Since I was there only in the daylight hours, I didn't have an opportunity to stand watch to see what might appear.


There is a 45 minute, half mile walking tour of the bridge or a one to two hour segway tour. You can schedule your tour through the Visitor's Center. The London Bridge is Arizona's second largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. It's a delightful, pleasant stop on your Arizona visit. 

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