Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Sep 2022 | Journal | 0 comments

History behind Lake Havasu’s famous London Bridge

Journal | 0 comments

September 2022

LAKE HAVASU CITY – Behind Parker Dam along the Colorado River sits Lake Havasu, a large reservoir on the California and Arizona border. Just five hours from L.A. and two from Phoenix, Lake Havasu is an idyllic setting where visitors can just get away from it all, relax on a houseboat, snag some fish, or enjoy some serious water sports practically year round.

This fabulous little exotic local getaway probably wouldn’t have made it onto any tourists list or vacation spots without the ingenuity and commitment of American entrepreneur Robert Paxton McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. These lands surely served as grazing and hunting grounds for plenty of southwestern natives thousands of years ago, but ultimately it became the site of a concrete arch dam constructed by the US Bureau of Reclamation in the 1930s. The dry lands around the dam were also government property that served as a military airstrip.

Once abandoned, the government passed on the deed to the State of Arizona, which really didn’t know what to do with the area. These lands in the middle of nowhere were not appealing to investors, prospective buyers, or even residents. However, McCulloch was interested, and he eventually got the grounds free in exchange for a promise to do something productive and develop here.

McCulloch’s real estate agent, Robert Plumer, may have been even more innovative and ‘kooky’ than his boss. Plumer learned of the pending sale of a London Bridge and suggested that McCulloch buy it, bring it over here, and set up the bridge over the Colorado River as a tourist draw. Crazy – maybe, effective, certainly and wildly cool. Between 1967 and 1971, the stone blocks of the London Bridge were transported and reassembled, and today the expected British pubs and souvenir shops grace the streets nearby the bridge.

Today, Lake Havasu Recreation Area is noted for its superior boating and fishing opportunities and sees more than 3 million visitors annually. House boating on Lake Havasu is almost as popular an activity as it is at Lake Powell and Lake Louise, and the moderate climate means that water activities abound year round.

Beyond perusing the galleries, shops and navigating the hip nightlife at Havasu City, the action happens out on the waters of the lake and the river. Recreational fishing and boating alone bring nearly a million visitors here, and several notable fishing tournaments are scheduled on the lake. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are a primary attraction, but there’s also crappie, catfish, stripers, and sunfish amid the azure blue waters of Havasu.

Lighthouse enthusiasts are in for a treat because Lake Havasu Recreation Area is home to more lighthouses than any other American city. These are only 1/3 scale replicas, but rather impressive ones that are functional navigational aids that have been constructed to the specification of many famous West and East Coast Lighthouses. Currently, 28 lighthouses are situated along the shoreline. 

Jet skiing, water tubing, wakeboarding, water skiing, swimming, or just lounging around the sandy beaches – the options are limitless for both water and land lovers at Lake Havasu. Plenty of operators offer Jet Ski Rentals and Boat Rental, and these are great additions to include along with a Havasu Houseboat Rental. Getting around this big lake in a houseboat can be time-consuming, but a small speedboat, kayak, or jet ski can offer trekkers the ultimate in lake exploration freedom!

The most outstanding way to see and experience the splendors of Lake Havasu is by houseboat. Lake Havasu Houseboat rentals come in many sizes, and the inexperienced captain need not worry. Rental operators teach visitors everything they need to know and offer a full spectrum of services while guests are out on the water. These fully equipped houseboats range from comfortable to luxurious, and with several grocers and conveniences nearby, there’s no need to bring much for a houseboat experience on Lake Havasu.

Visitors looking for lodging at Lake Havasu that’s on land can take respite at the gorgeous accommodations at the London Bridge Resort, one of the best Lake Havasu lodges in the city. Exotic gardens and winding walkways surround well-appointed suites and studios at London Bridge Resort. Guests can’t help but gape at the Royal Coach replica that takes center stage in the lobby.

The Nautical Beachfront Resort is considered a Havasu landmark, having been constructed long before the London Bridge came into the picture. This lodging in Lake Havasu offers 26 acres of pristine shoreline and immediate Colorado River access. Guest amenities and plush rooms ensure any stay at the Nautical Beachfront Resort at Havasu Recreational Area is comfortable.

For more information, please call the Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce at (928) 855-4115.

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