London Bridge is in Arizona.
It’s also in London.
There have actually been several London Bridges over time, spanning all the way back to one the Romans built in about 55 AD.
It’s been rebuilt many times over the years. They first started building out of stone during the Middle Ages, when the song “London Bridge is Falling Down” may have been born as well.
The first published version with the lyrics most of us sang in elementary school dates back to around the end of the lifespan of the Old London Bridge, which spanned the Thames from 1209 to 1831.
That’s a long time for a bridge to exist. It was most definitely falling down and in disrepair.
Here’s a version of the song from 1815:
They’d been trying and failing to retrofit the bridge for over half a millennium.
More “gravel and stone” wasn’t going to cut it.
So they built “New” London Bridge in 1831:
It was beautiful, had much larger carrying capacity, and was built with five large arches, which meant that boat captains weren’t as scared to pass under it anymore.
But by the end of the century the bridge had to be widened, and by 1924, it was apparent that one side of the bridge was sinking.
So they decided to sell it.
It took another 43 years to get it worked out, but in 1967 the bridge was sold off. An oil magnate from Missouri who planned to rebuild it on a patch of land he’d acquired years earlier for a planned community called Lake Havasu City bought the bridge for about $2.5 million.
The city was established in 1963, but the town’s own website fully admits that the bridge, which officially reopened in Lake Havasu City in 1971, is what brought the town international acclaim as both a tourist and a residential destination.
There’s obviously still a London Bridge in London:
They started building a new one almost immediately after the New London Bridge sold.
But most people still confuse the London Bridge with Tower Bridge:
There’s even been some talk that Robert P. McCulloch, who purchased New London Bridge, thought he was getting Tower Bridge when he made the purchase.
This theory has since been debunked.
But the rumor persists…
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