Why was the London Bridge moved to a desert in Arizona?
There has been a bridge over the Thames River in London for over 2,000 years, since the time of the Romans. The manifestation in Arizona was designed in 1824 by John Rennie.
In 1831, William IV and Queen Adelaid opened the New London bridge and the old bridge was demolished. This London Bridge was built out of granite which was quarried on Dartmoor. It was a structure of 5 arches, overall dimensions were 928 feet long and 49 feet wide. In 1902-04, it was widened by means of corbels, increasing the space between the parapets to 65 feet and the foot path to 15 feet.
In 1962, it was discovered that the London Bridge was falling down. It was sinking into the Thames because it was not adequate for the increase in London traffic across it. Robert McCulloch a Lake Havasu businessman learned that the British Government was putting the bridge up for sale. He submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000.
Plans were made to move and reconstruct the bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Each piece was marked with four numbers. The first indicated which span, the second noted which row of stones, and the last two numbers indicated which position in that row. It was discovered, while dismantling the bridge, that there were code numbers on each stone when it was originally built.
The bridge was shipped by boat 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California. It was then trucked to Lake Havasu City.
Reconstructing the Bridge in Lake Havasu City was done in the same manner as the Egyptians built pyramids. Sand mounds beneath each arch were carefully formed to the profile of the original bridge arches, serving the same function as molds. When work was completed, the sand was removed. A one-mile channel was dredged and water was diverted from the lake, under the Bridge, then back into the lake.
The Bridge reconstruction was completed and dedicated on October 10, 1971