The classic children’s rhyme, “London Bridge is Falling Down,” was once all too true. After standing for over a century over the river Thames, the London Bridge that now stands in Lake Havasu, Arizona had begun to sink into the water before it was purchased by the American city.
By 1967, the old London Bridge, constructed out of reinforced stone masonry, had begun to deteriorate under the stresses of heavy modern traffic. Rather than just demolish the 1830s relic, the city of London decided that they would sell the span to the highest bidder.
The founder of Lake Havasu City, Robert P. McCullough, caught wind of the sale and saw a great opportunity to put his new community on the map. After bidding over two million dollars for the century-old bridge, it was his. Now he just had to move the whole thing across the globe.
The old London Bridge was carefully dismantled, and each of the stones was numbered. Once it was broken down to its pieces, they were shipped to California through the Panama Canal, and then driven down to Arizona. The bridge was then just as carefully put back together again, and Arizona’s own London Bridge was opened in 1971.
Today the immigrant bridge has settled in as part of the Arizona landscape, but it still bears some of the scars of its previous life, such as strafing marks left during World War II.