What Do The Governor, Lord Mayor, And Sheep Have In Common?
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Alderman Charles Bowman, the 690th Right Honourable Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation, and a small flock of six sheep crossed the London Bridge in Arizona on Saturday, Oct. 20 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 sales transaction of the London Bridge between the City of London Corporation and Robert P. McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Michael McCulloch, the grandson of Robert P. McCulloch, and Lake Havasu City Mayor Mark Nexsen joined the men and sheep on the bridge crossing.
This is the first time that sheep have crossed the London Bridge since it was dismantled from spanning the River Thames in London, shipped through the Panama Canal, and reconstructed over the Colorado River in what is now Lake Havasu City, Ariz. An estimated 400 spectators gathered near the London Bridge to celebrate the occasion.
‘A Great Honor’
“What a great honor and real privilege to be here today,” said Alderman Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation at the start of the anniversary celebration ceremony under the London Bridge.
An International City
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey at the beginning of the anniversary celebration said, “What a beautiful day, Lake Havasu City. This bridge has made us an international city.” Ducey added that Lake Havasu City is the benefactor of beautiful water, recreation, and tourism as a result of the London Bridge. The city receives an estimated nearly 1 million annual visitors.
Testament To American Spirit
Terence Concannon, president/CEO of Go Lake Havasu tourism bureau said: “The London Bridge has been and will always be a testament to American spirit and its appeti
An 800-Year-Old Tradition
Sheep crossing is a tradition that dates back to more than 800 years when the London Bridge, then spanning the River Thames, was the only route into London for trading. Only “freemen” were allowed to enter the city on the London Bridge with tools of their trades, including sheep and livestock, without paying a toll.
Today, those designated as freeman are still able to exercise the privilege of walking sheep across the London Bridge.
About The Bridge
The London Bridge that exists in Lake Havasu City today is not the same bridge that was made popular in a famous nursery rhyme. The old London Bridge of nursery-rhyme fame was built between 1176 and 1209, replacing an earlier timber bridge over the River Thames.
The London Bridge that is located in Lake Havasu City today was originally constructed in 1831, and it began to sink over the River Thames; dismantling began after the Robert P. McCulloch placed the wining bid of $2.4 million in April 1968. The granite blocks were numbered in order during dismantle and erected in the same order over the Colorado River. The bridge was rededicated upon construction completion in Arizona in October 1971.
For information on the history of the 187-year-old London bridge view: https://golakehavasu.com/activities/attractions/london-bridge/london-bridge-fun-facts/