The American city with London Bridge celebrates milestone

A city in the United States that became the new home of London Bridge marks a milestone for the structure.

Lake Havasu City plays its roots with a month of festive events marking the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the bridge after it was rebuilt piece by piece in the resort town of Arizona along the Colorado River.

Planned October events include a parade, powerboat racing, theater and musical performances, a costume contest and sports competitions.

Landmark London Bridge in Lake Havasu
Landmark London Bridge in Lake Havasu City (AP)

The city’s founder, Robert McCulloch, bought the stone bridge in 1968 for about two million US dollars and had it transported by ship and truck from London in pieces across the Atlantic and via the Panama Canal and Los Angeles.

This process and reconstruction took three years, leading to the inauguration in October 1971.

The city of London had decided to replace the bridge because it sank and unsuitable to withstand increased vehicle traffic.

In Lake Havasu City, which has about 57,000 inhabitants, the bridge that spans a canal between the shoreline and an island in the river has become a major tourist attraction.

London Brdige
The bridge is popular with visitors (Daisy Nelson / Today’s News-Herald / via AP)

“New York has its Empire State Building, St Louis its Gateway Arch and LA its Hollywood sign. There is only one London Bridge in the world outside of England, and we have it here thanks to the foresight of our founding ancestors about 50 years ago, ”said Terence Concannon, president and CEO of Go Lake Havasu, the city’s convention and visitor agency.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, the 50th anniversary continues with a party and a candlelight party.

The idea for the party came from the inauguration of the bridge in 1971, which also included a large tent decorated for a formal dedication dinner, said Melanie Preston of a non-profit group at Lake Havasu City, which annually hosts the London Bridge Renaissance Faire.

The inauguration dinner 50 years ago was itself inspired by the bridge’s original inauguration in 1831 in the city that gave the bridge its name.

London Bridge in 1971
This is what the bridge looked like in 1971 (AP)

“It’s going to be banquet-style with rows of tables, candles, flowers, banners and all that,” Preston said.

Lake Havasu Museum of History director Hannah Rangel said the party will be an interactive experience for guests and include modeling some of the costumes that debuted in the original costume contests in the 1970s and have since been donated to the museum’s collection.

“Some of the dresses they made in the previous costume contests are just beautiful,” Rangel said.

‘So we want to talk about them and give some history. We place great emphasis on ensuring that history is properly represented for the city. ”

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