The London Bridge was sinking about 4 inches on its east side — not falling into the River Thames — when entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch bought it for $2.4 million in 1968.
McCulloch had the bridge dismantled and rebuilt, stone by stone, in Lake Havasu City. The last stone was settled into place in October 1971.
Thirty-four years later, the bridge that put Lake Havasu City on the radar of retirees and college students looking to party will be celebrated during London Bridge Days this weekend.
This annual event commemorates the bridge’s reconstruction with a parade, concerts, costume galas and a truck show. The festivities will take place under the bridge and in the surrounding area known as the English Village, an English-themed park with a collection of Tudor-style shops and restaurants.
"That bridge put Lake Havasu City on the map," says Jarrod Lyman, promotions manager for the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau. "No other town has grown so quickly and gained as much notoriety as Lake Havasu City has. If it wasn’t for that bridge, people wouldn’t come."
More than 2 million visitors converge upon the shores of Lake Havasu City, which is often touted as Arizona’s personal watercraft capital. The lake itself, which is 45 miles long with 450 miles of shoreline, was created by the Parker Dam.