Hello Friends and Family,

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London Bridge

Did you know that the London Bridge is no longer in London? In fact, it stands in the Colorado River at Lake Havasu, Arizona. It was originally built in London around 1831 but by the 1960s it was not sufficiently structurally sound for the increasing load of vehicular traffic. In 1967, it was closed and dismantled.

However, it was not discarded as is the fate for so many of today's landmarks but the exterior stones were numbered so the bridge could be reconstructed elsewhere. It was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch, the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, who was the founder of Lake Havasu City, a retirement real estate development on the east shore of Lake Havasu, a large reservoir on the Colorado River. McCulloch purchased the bridge as a tourist attraction for Lake Havasu, which was then far from the usual tourist track. The idea was successful, bringing interested tourists and potential buyers of retirement homes to the area.

The guts of the bridge are a new concrete structure to which were attached the stone blocks from London. The sturdy new structure links the bank of the Colorado River with an island just offshore.

Not only were the blocks preserved and reused but also the light standards.

In this shot, you can see both the functional blocks and the decorative blocks that make this bridge so aesthetically appealing.

Next to the bridge, an English village was constructed with shops and restaurants with an English theme. Unfortunately, the village fell into disrepair and part of it has been demolished. Many of the remaining storefronts have been repurposed. For instance, the movie theatre is now the Visitor Center.

From my previous visit, I seem to recall that this was a pub and served some pretty good fish and chips. My dad enjoyed the beer — I had to take his word for that since I don't drink beer. Too bad the business did not survive — it is now a real estate office.

I am not sure what this shop was but it certainly retained the old British charm.

Nearby was the Hawaiian Shave Ice vendor. There does not seem to be much of a connection between London and Hawai‘i (except for Captain Cook) but Johnny loved the opportunity to get a good shave ice treat AKA snow cone.

On the other bank were shops, a brewery and restaurant.

I was quite surprised how uncomfortably hot it was at Lake Havasu. Living in Phoenix, I am quite acclimated to high temperature and even the higher humidity (40% - 45%) that we experience in late summer. However, those same conditions here felt murderously uncomfortable. I guess that is why McCulloch felt the need for an attraction to get vacationers and retirement-home buyers to visit Lake Havasu in the first place.

Looking around, it seemed like there were as many boats and jet skis as residents. Certainly these ducks were representative of the resident population — cooling off in the water of the Colorado River.

There were a few remnants of the original English village such as this London telephone booth. Johnny, like most kids his age, had no idea was this was for except for the word "TELEPHONE" painted on the top of the sides.

The other interesting remnant is this heraldic dragon statue which marks the boundary of the City of London. It serves a similar purpose here marking the boundary of the City of London land in Lake Havasu City.

This marks the end of our guided tour of northern Arizona and Las Vegas for our guest from Japan. Next week, we'll begin our visit to my beloved Maui.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com