Wednesday, April 18

London Bridge was falling down

References to "selling the Brooklyn Bridge" abound in American culture. (For example, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you.") George C. Parker and William McCloundy were two early 20th-century con-men who allegedly perpetrated this scam on unwitting tourists and immigrants.

But they weren't the last to sell a bridge.

The London Bridge was sold on April 18, 1968 to Robert McCulloch, who was the founder of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation.

Originally, London Bridge was built in 1831 to span the River Thames, but by 1962 the bridge was not strong enough to support modern traffic and was dismantled and sold by the City of London.

McCulloch purchased the bridge to serve as a tourist attraction at his retirement real estate development at Lake Havasu City which was in the middle of nowhere.

The Arizona London Bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry of the 1831 bridge. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge numbered and transported to the present site in Arizona. The bridge was completed in 1971 and links an island in Lake Havasu with the main part of the city.

Incidentally, McCulloch vehemently denied rumors until his death in 1977 that the London Bridge was mistakenly bought in the belief that it was the more picturesque Tower Bridge.

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