Lake Havasu City and Kingman Are Rich in Local History

Like so many Western towns, Lake Havasu City is a collage of history's most storied characters.

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 16:11

Like so many Western towns, Lake Havasu City is a collage of history’s most storied characters: cowboys and Indians, miners and missionaries, explorers and entrepreneurs.

The town does have one fixture, though, that immediately sets it apart from the hundreds of other towns dotting the desert: London Bridge. As in the one that’s “falling down.” The 130-year-old bridge began sinking into the Thames River in the 1960s as the weight of increasing traffic grew beyond what the bridge was designed to sustain. The City of London began construction on a new bridge, and auctioned off the iconic landmark for nearly $2.5 million. The high bidder was Robert P. McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City. Another $7 million and three years later, the bridge was reassembled in Lake Havasu City (using copies of the original plans).

The bridge’s dedication in 1971 drew roughly 50,000 spectators from both sides of the Atlantic. And the rest, as they say, is history. Of course, Lake Havasu City and nearby Kingman have plenty to offer in the way of culture that isn’t nursery-rhyme related. The two cities showcases their history in the Lake Havasu Museum of History in Lake Havasu City and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts in Kingman, both of which are dedicated to preserving and sharing the region’s local heritage. In Kingman, visitors can explore more than 60 National Historic Register sites, including St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Little Red Schoolhouse and Locomotive Park. A walking tour guidebook of 27 historic attractions in downtown Kingman is available at the Mohave Museum and the Powerhouse Visitors Center.

Lake Havasu City is also home to the thriving Havasu Art Guild, uniting artists for workshops, art shows and galleries. In Kingman, plans are getting underway to build a performing arts center on the campus of Mohave Community College.