Lake Havasu City, developed by chainsaw tycoon Robert McCulloch
LAKE HAVASU, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Conceived in the mind of a visionary businessman, Lake Havasu City is nestled on the eastern shore of the body of water it’s named after. The construction of Parker Dam on the Colorado River in the 1930′s marks the beginnings of Lake Havasu. The reservoir was filled to capacity by the early 1940′s.
Thirty years later, in 1963, chainsaw tycoon, Robert McCulloch flew over the lake and spotted a suitable location to test out his line of outboard motors. Besides his other ventures, McCulloch had a fondness for boat racing and building boat engines. He had been looking for a place to test his boat engines, and Lake Havasu seemed like a viable option. With the help of developer C.V. Wood, the chief developer behind Disneyland, McCulloch’s vision for a community on the lake took off. On September 30, 1963, Lake Havasu City was established. With the city springing out of nowhere, McCulloch began flying prospective buyers in from all over the country with the lure of a beautiful shoreline location that had nice weather with plenty of sunshine.
His next move may have seemed odd at the time, but in hindsight, the purchase of a London bridge was a bit of marketing genius, and now it’s one of the state’s top visitor attractions. McCulloch wanted the bridge to attract tourists to his new development in Lake Havasu City. It worked! Since its inauguration, London Bridge has become the second-largest tourist attraction in the state, coming in right after the Grand Canyon. At the time, the old bridge was unable to cope with the increased traffic flow of London traffic. In 1962 it was sold in auction to McCulloch for $2,460,000.
It was dismantled and moved 5,300 miles, brick-by-brick, to Lake Havasu City where it was reassembled and opened in 1971. Guinness recognizes the move as the record holder for the longest moving of a bridge. McCulloch was able to see the city by the lake transformed into a thriving community. McCulloch passed away in 1977 at the age of 66.
These days Lake Havasu City is well known for its recreational fishing and boating activities. Winter visitors flock to the area to enjoy the season’s fair weather. It’s also a popular destination for college students as well during spring break from classes.
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