Nestled within the foundation of the London Bridge is a message of peace from the first inhabitants of this particular stretch of the Colorado River.
In May of 1970, as the London Bridge was nearing its completion in Lake Havasu City, leaders of the Mohave, Chemehuevi, and Colorado River tribes met with a group of federal, state, and local officials for a London Bridge welcoming ceremony.
According to an article in the Lake Havasu City Herald at the time, during the ceremony native leaders put together a time capsule that included fertile soil and Colorado River water from the Mohave, a replica of bighorn mountain sheep from the Chemehuevi, and a string of friendship beads from the Colorado River tribe. Records of the London Bridge’s history, and the creation and growth of Lake Havasu City in its early days were also placed into the time capsule.
The capsule also included a message from the tribes that, according to the Herald’s article, expresses the hope that in the years ahead all men “will learn to live with one another in peace, dignity, and respect. May the future generation that opens this time capsule know the blessings of such a world.”
The capsule was meant to be opened 100 years after it was placed there – in the year 2070. So this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations mark the halfway point.
The capsule was placed into the foundation of the southeast abutment of the bridge, and then covered with the first facework granite stone to be formally set into place.
Tribal representatives at the ceremony included Colorado River Tribal Council chairman Adrian Fisher, Special Committee for Chemehuevi Affairs chairman Jesus Esquerra, acting Fort Mohave Tribal Council chairman Minerva Jenkins, and John Artichoker Jr., superintendent of the Colorado River Agency at Parker.
Robert McCulloch was also present at the ceremony, and assisted with sealing the time capsule and positioning the granite block to cover it, according to the Herald.
In 1993 Charlie Birchett, who was McCulloch’s general superintendent for more than two decades, told Today’s Daily News that there are actually three cylinder time capsules that were placed in the bridge. He said included with the items mentioned in the Havasu Herald article, personal items from McCulloch and from pioneer resident Jerry Robechaud – including his badge from the local Jeep posse – were also placed into capsules and sealed within the bridge.