The London Bridge

It came to me as a surprise that the original London Bridge isn't in London anymore. The original London bridge was sold to Robert McCulloch of McCulloch Oil and he rebuilt it in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. There is a rumor that Robert McCulloch thought he was getting Tower Bridge instead. Not surprisingly there have been several bridges on the London Bridge site and the present one is just under 40 years old.

There are many stories associated with the London Bridge. Few people believe that the soul of the Jack the Ripper was trapped in the bricks of London Bridge and then transported to Arizona. If some of you don't know who he is then, here's some introduction; Jack the Ripper, a serial killer who was active in and around the Whitechapel district of  London in 1888. His victims were usually prostitutes operating in the area who lived and worked in the slums of London and whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. The removal of internal organs from the victims led to assumptions that their killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge. Jack the Ripper has inspired many work of fictions and art.

The original London Bridge is now situated in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The old London Bridge of nursery-rhyme fame was built by Peter of Colechurch between 1176 and 1209, which replaced an earlier timber bridge.

By the end of the 18th century, it was quite apparent that the old London Bridge needed to be replaced. It was narrow and blocked river traffic. Designed in 1799 by Scottish engineer John Rennie, the new London Bridge was completed in 1831. After few years, the new bridge began sinking at the rate of an inch every eight years. By 1924, the east side of the bridge was around three to four inches  lower than the west side of the bridge as the bridge was not designed to withstand 20th century automotive traffic.

In the year 1967, the Council of the City of London started looking for potential buyers for the London Bridge. Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2,460,000 on April 18, 1968. McCulloch came by this figure by doubling the estimated cost of dismantling the structure, which was $1.2 million, bringing the price to $2.4 million. He then added on $60,000 – a thousand dollars for each year of his age at the time he estimated the bridge would be reconstructed in Arizona. Each block was meticulously numbered before the bridge was disassembled. The blocks were then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona. Following reconstruction of the London Bridge, Lake Havasu City rededicated it in a ceremony on October 10, 1971.


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