Lake Havasu: An Oasis in the Arizona Desert

In the middle of the desert, we found ourselves strolling along the lakeshore, listening to palm trees swaying in the gentle spring breeze, and watching boats and ducks bobbing on the water. Lake Havasu was a well-deserved oasis for us, after months of desert dwelling! The lake sits on the border of Arizona and California on Colorado River, and is home to London Bridge, relocated from England in 1968.

Lake Havasu map

London Bridge is falling down!

London Bridge Is Falling Down lyrics © Valentine Music Ltd

What is the old London Bridge doing in the middle of the Arizona desert? Well, in 1968, when the bridge was falling apart and marked for demolition, a wealthy US chainsaw magnate by the name of Robert P. McCulloch, Sr. saw an opportunity to both preserve a great piece of history and to create an attraction for tourists and investors alike. So, the businessman purchased the structure and had it relocated piece by piece to the US. But the hard work had just begun. The bridge was rebuilt on a strong steel structure, its original granite blocks added on, and adorned with ornate lampposts made from the melted-down cannons captured by the British from Napoleon’s army, after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Today, the bridge connects Lake Havasu City to an island on the Colorado River. And Mr. McCulloch was right on the money: the bridge is the second-largest tourist draw in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon.

London Bridge is made more of souls than of stone. It’s everyone who ever lived on it and died on it and worked on it and walked on it. And now it’s here in the United States — a precious gift to the people of America. May it stand forever.

FROM LONDON BRIDGE, MCCULLOCH OF LONDON LIMITED (1971)

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