By Ronald Zach, The Traveling Lawyer
We can travel to Europe to see history. In Arizona, we bring history here. That’s exactly what businessman Robert McCullough did some fifty years ago.
The story of Lake Havasu and Lake Havasu City is a testament to modern ingenuity and man-made wonder. Lake Havasu was created from the Colorado River in 1938 when the Parker Dam was constructed. The 45 mile long reservoir known as Lake Havasu was designed to store water for pumping into two aqueducts. Of course, a secondary use was as a wonderland for boating and other water
In 1963, McCullough purchased 26 square miles of land adjacent to Lake Havasu to use as a test site for his outboard motor business and Lake Havasu City was born. The creative-thinking entrepreneur later developed what has become Arizona’s second most popular attraction after the Grand Canyon. As they say in business and in real estate, “timing is everything.” McCullough was looking for ways to develop the land and needed to create some interest in the area. Four years after McCullough initially purchased the land, the City of London decided to sell the London Bridge.
The storied structure had served Londoners for 136 years at the time. She was showing her age, though, and had been slowly sinking under the weight of increasing traffic and heavier vehicles.McCullough paid almost 2.5 million dollars for the 22 million pounds of granite that comprised the bridge and another 7.5 million to dismantle, transport and reassemble the bridge in Lake Havasu City.
The bridge was reconstructed next to the lake and a one mile channel was dug beneath it – after all, what’s a bridge without a river? Engineers were able to divert water from the lake, through the channel, and back to the lake through Thompson Bay. The entire process of disassembling the bridge, labeling and packing each stone, shipping 10,000 miles to Long Beach, California, trucking from California to Lake Havasu, re-assembling and digging the channel took about three years. The result, 955 feet long and 33,000 tons, opened October 10, 1971 with a huge celebration. A colorful English Village was built beneath the bridge and offers a unique shopping experience.
Lake Havasu City, incorporated in 1978, now has a population of over 50,000 people. The city contains over 1,000 businesses and is listed as one of the best places to retire in the United States. It is also one of the most popular spring break destinations and an overall
family friendly vacation spot with tons of activities. In addition to boating and other water sports, there is a resort, plenty of golfing, and tours available on water and land to explore the diverse environment of lake and desert.
Boat and watercraft rental is readily available and families enjoy attractions such as the Dixie Bell Paddlewheel boat tour and the Kon-Tiki Cruise to Copper Canyon and historical lighthouses. Many also take advantage of segway tours, jeep tours in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts and the nearby Havasu National Wildlife Refuge Park. Lake Havasu provides an incredible opportunity for the
entire family to learn and explore manmade and natural wonders.
Ronald Zack, the Traveling Lawyer, practices throughout Southern Arizona. His practice focuses on wills, trusts, powers of attorney,
guardianships, conservatorships and probate. Contact Ron at 520-664-3420 or on the web at www.tucsonestateplanning.com