Back in 1962, engineers found that a bridge spanning the Thames was collapsing under the weight of car traffic. I say a bridge, because there are a few bridges in London. This one was built in 1832. City officials figured they could make a quick buck, so they decided to put the bridge up for auction.
The winner at the auction? Robert McCulloch. McCulloch was famous for founding the city of the Lake Havasu City. When he purchased the 26 square mile parcel of barren desert, it was the largest single tract of state land ever sold in Arizona. He paid less than $75 per acre. Although he built a chainsaw factory to spur growth (he made his money manufacturing chainsaws), it was not enough. So what else does one do but buy a 19th century British bridge? He paid $2,460,000. A steal, except he also spent $7 million to have it moved, piece by piece, to Arizona.
Robert P. McCulloch in front of the London bridge via havasunews.com
The bridge was inaugurated on October 10, 1971 with a big tacky celebration. Even the Lord Mayor of London showed up. One newspaper said of the event that one got "the overwhelming impression that Richard the Lionheart might possibly be returning from the Crusades." Although McCullough died six short years later, the bridge (and the city he built) still stands as one of Arizona’s biggest tourist attractions.
Featured photograph via prweb.com.