Ever wonder what the word “Havasu” means? Havasu is the Mohave Indian word for “blue water”.
In the early 1800’s beaver and bear trappers set up camps along the river where Lake Havasu City stands today. By 1830 these trappers had been chased away by the Mojave Indians. The Indians were unhappy with the way the trappers would kill animals, skin them and leave their carcasses. Later, Spaniards replaced these camps with mining camps. With the great need for water, the Parker Dam was constructed in 1938, flooding these camps forever. Fishing camps were soon to follow.
During World War II the Army Air Corps used this area as a testing site known as Site Six. The camp areas were used as barracks and the nearby peninsula as a recreation area for the airmen. By the early 1960’s the airmen were gone and the fishermen were back. Industrialist and entrepreneur Robert McCulloch Sr., while flying over the area, thought it would be the perfect place for testing his companies outboard motors.
McCulloch purchased 3500 acres in the peninsula area and had a 100 unit mobile home park build for the workers. In 1963 he bought a 26 mile area for under $75 an acre. McCulloch then turned his interests into making Lake Havasu a retirement community. The Lake Havasu Hotel was built, McCullouh International Airlines was formed, real estate agents were put in place and 40 white jeeps were purchased, all in anticipation of prospective buyers and investors. The 11 airplanes that made up McCulloch International Airlines were used to fly in prospective buyers for free. Then the jeeps were used by the real estate agents to show them around the area. McCulloch then decided to start a chainsaw manufacturing plant to stimulate the economy. There were 3 factories built with 400 employees.
In the early 1960’s, it was discovered that 130 year-old London Bridge was slowly sinking into the Thames River. Not wanting to demolish the bridge, London decided to hold an auction for the bridge. Always the great promoter, McCulloch thought it would be the perfect attraction for his growing city. His bid of $2,460,000 was the winning bid. It then took 3 years to transport it across the ocean and through the Panama Canal to it present location. At a cost of approximately $8 million, it was reconstructed brick by brick and open for business on October 10,1971.
Lake Havasu was established as a master planned community, meant to be self supporting. The economy was based on a ratio of 40% light industrial, 40% resort and recreational, and 20% commercial services. By 1975 the population had reached 15,000. The free flights were discontinued in 1978. It was estimated that at least 137,000 prospective buyers had made this flight.
London Bridge History
The wooden Roman and Saxton London Bridges were vulnerable to fire and flood, so Peter de Colechurch determined to build a lasting bridge of stone. During the 30 years that is took to build, the bridge cost the lives of an estimated 150 workmen.
The stone London Bridge was began around 1176, and completed in the early years of the 13th century. The first “London Bridge” was Roman, and probably built of timber. However, the earliest written reference to a London Bridge can be found in the section in the Saxton Chronicles that deal with the later 10th century.
As historical drawings show, its silhouette changed constantly – with building frequently being demolished and replaced. Throughout its history, the bridge has been a busy thoroughfare, and was once lined with shops.
In 1666, the houses on London Bridge were saved from the Great Fire of London, thanks to as earlier fire in 1633, which had destroyed the houses near to the north bank, so there was nothing for the fires to get a hold of. In the mid 1700s, the houses on the bridge were removed completely, and a larger middle arch was created, by removing on of the piers.
In the 1820s a new London Bridge was built, north of the old one, and this opened in 1831. In the same year, the destruction of the old bridge began, after it had been in place some 622 years. In the 1960s, the London Bridge of 1831 was transported, stone by stone, to Lake Havasu City, where it sits today.
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