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Is the London Bridge Actually in Arizona?

Is the London Bridge Actually in Arizona?

London Bridge may not have fallen down, as the nursery rhyme says. But did it (as the country song says) really move to Arizona?

This attraction has drawn tourists curious about how a piece of the British capital landed in Lake Havasu City.

We’ll take a closer look at how a real estate developer brought London Bridge to Arizona.

Let’s dive in!

The History of the London Bridge 

Many bridges have spanned the Thames River in London. Several have shared the name “London Bridge.” The first stone London Bridge traces its roots back to 1176. It took more than 30 years to build, which may seem like a long time until you consider it stood for another 600. Homes at one point stood along the bridge’s span. It endured several devastating fires as well. The “old” London Bridge had deteriorated by the late 1700s, and a replacement took its place in 1831. 

Is the Bridge Really in Arizona? 

Yes, and no. It depends on which London Bridge you’re referring to. The 1831 bridge eventually ended up in Arizona. The more modern replacement to this version remains in operation in London, England. The “old” London Bridge came down to construct the 1831 version. 

Pro Tip: No trip to Arizona is complete, without an adventure down Route 66, so we found the 9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in Arizona.

Along the water next to the London Bridge in Arizona.
The old London Bridge was moved to Arizona brick by brick in the hopes of drawing in tourists.

Why Was the Bridge Moved to Arizona? 

Unfortunately, designers dreamed up the bridge in a time before automobiles. It couldn’t sustain the impact of car traffic. As a result, the bridge slowly sank into the river by a fraction of an inch every year. 

Still, it took until the late 1960s for someone to create a replacement. The City of London decided to auction off the original. Robert McCullouch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., purchased it for $2.46 million. That’s the equivalent of about $19.3 million in today’s money. McCullouch believed the bridge would help draw tourists and real estate investors to the city.

They dismantled London Bridge piece by piece, carefully numbering and cataloging each piece. Shipping and reassembling these more than 10,000 blocks ended up being significantly more expensive than the bridge itself at more than $7 million. The entire process took three years to complete.

Far away image of London Bridge.
Take some time to drive over London Bridge while in Arizona.

Can You Drive Over the Bridge in Arizona? 

Yes, it’s possible to drive over the London Bridge in Arizona safely. The bridge carries McCulloch Boulevard North across the Bridgewater Channel Canal. This road loops around the island. It turns into Beachcomber Boulevard before meeting McCulloch again, which carries cars back across the bridge and channel. 

What Replaced the Bridge in London? 

The London Bridge of Arizona was replaced by what many simply refer to as the “modern London Bridge.” The modern bridge consists of three spans constructed of concrete and polished granite. It opened in 1973, five years after the city sold the previous version and two years after Lake Havasu City reassembled it. Modern London Bridge remains a popular commuter crossing. It connects the areas south of the river and the busy City of London area to the north. 

Is the Arizona Bridge Haunted? 

If you’re the type who believes in the paranormal, keep your eyes open on a visit to London Bridge Arizona. People have reported years worth of ghost sightings, including a London police “bobby” and a woman in black. A group of vanishing ghosts supposedly attended the bridge’s dedication ceremony in Arizona. Luckily (or unluckily, for ghost hunters), the Arizona London Bridge didn’t see some of the more grisly scenes of past London bridges, including a display of traitors’ heads or other executed criminals.

Pro Tip: If the ghosts of London Bridge don’t come out to spook you, you might be able to find some scary spirits in one of these 5 Spooky Ghost Towns in Arizona.

What’s Inside the Towers of London Bridge? 

Often confused with London Bridge, the Towers of London Bridge is a more famous, visually distinctive crossing of the Thames. It’s located about a half-mile downriver from London Bridge. These days, the interior of the bridge is a museum. Visitors can enjoy unique views of London and learn about the history and operations of this landmark crossing. 

London Bridge in Arizona with a British telephone booth.
Enjoy boating, water-skiing and exploring London Bridge on Lake Havasu.

Is the London Bridge Worth a Visit? 

Arizona’s London Bridge is certainly an attraction unlike anything else you’ll see in the southwest. But at the end of the day, it’s still just a bridge and not a particularly long or architecturally impressive one. However, Lake Havasu is a well-known spot for boating, water-skiing, and other outdoor recreation. If you find yourself in the area, it’s certainly worth a drive or a stroll over a piece of history that found a new home in the Grand Canyon State. Have you ever seen any of the London bridges out there?

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