LAKE HAVASU CITY, Arizona -- London Bridge, sinking slowly into the Thames under the weight of 20th century traffic, will be moved block by bloc to a new home on a man-made lake on the Arizona desert, it was announced today.
McCulloch Oil Corp. paid $2,240,000 to become the latest American buyer of outmoded British treasures.
It will be rebuilt in its original form to span a mile-long channel on the edge of Lake Havasu, a resort development 240 miles east of Phoenix, Ariz., near the Arizona-California border.
The deal marked the third American purchase of historic British mementoes -- first the liner Queen Mary by the city of Long Beach, Calif., and then the Queen Elizabeth by Philadelphia.
Dismantling of the 1,005 foot long span already is underway. Twenty million pounds of stones are are being numbered for reference and will be shipped to Long Beach, Calif., for trucking to Lake Havasu City.
A spokesman for McCulloch said the reconstructed bridge will span a channel flowing from the lake into a bay. A complex of hotels, shops and restaurants styled with a British motif will be built along the waterway and under the outer spans of the bridge.
The current London Bridge is the latest in a series of bridges that have spanned the Thames in approximately the same spot since the days of the Roman conquerers. And most of them have fallen down because of the unstable river bottom. The present version, now 136-years old, is too narrow and weak for modern traffic.
Lake Havasu City, developed by McCulloch Corp. in 1964, border the 45-mile-long lake formed by construction of Parker Dam on the lower Colorado River. The present population is about 3,600.