LONDON – The London Bridge is an iconic symbol of the history and prosperity of this city. So what in the name of Winston Churchill is the original structure doing in Arizona’s Lake Havasu City?
Lake Havasu City has dubbed the structure its “claim to fame.”
Purchased in the late 1960s for nearly $2.5 million by chainsaw entrepreneur and Lake Havasu City founder Robert McCulloch, the London Bridge is now a main attraction in Arizona – second only to the Grand Canyon.
The bridge was put up for sale in 1968 when it was evident a new bridge would be more beneficial to the city of London. It was taken down in sections, shipped across 5,400 miles of ocean and land, then reconstructed over the Bridgewater Channel.
According to the Lake Havasu Convention & Visitors Bureau, thousands of visitors flock to the bridge for a 45-minute walking tour in which they get a taste of World War II history and a bit of paranormal activity.
Several visitors throughout the bridge’s 41 years said they have seen phantom bobbies – London’s police officers – and a lady wearing a black dress.
Interestingly enough, bats also flock to the Lake Havasu City bridge, a spokesperson for the visitors bureau said, as opposed to mice and rats in London. But the supernatural mystery remains.
In London, the new bridge constructed to replace the one in Lake Havasu City attracts millions of people every season and is a major financial focal point for the area surrounding it. Many businesses have built their names featuring the bridge, according to a representative for DiscoverLondonBridge.co.uk.
That includes a haunted house tour under the bridge that features some of the more gruesome moments in London’s history. There has been some form of a London Bridge over the Thames River since Romans founded the city around 43 A.D. The stone arch bridge now in Lake Havasu City was built in the 19th century.
Blake Behrens, a Phoenician in London for the games, has seen both structures and said the experiences are completely different.
“Lake Havasu is more touristy,” Behrens said. “In London, it’s more cultural.”