Lake Havasu City is located in western Arizona residing in the Chemehuevi Valley along the Colorado River, west of the Mohave Mountains. Lake Havasu is named after the Mohave Indian word meaning “blue water.”
In 1865, the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation was established, 40 miles south of Lake Havasu City near Parker, Arizona to provide for the Mohave and the Chemehuevi tribes and is now shared with the Hopi and Navajo nations. Today, the Chemehuevi also occupy a reservation on the western shores of Lake Havasu known by most as Chemehuevi Landing and Havasu Landing Resort Casino.
The Havasu area began to develop with the creation of Parker Dam in 1938. In the early 1960’s, Robert McCulloch, Sr., was flying over the river looking for a test location for his company’s outboard motors. He discovered the perfect spot and purchased 3500 acres in the peninsula area, what is now known as “the island.”
In 1963, McCulloch decided to start a community and purchased a 26-mile area that would later become Lake Havasu City. In 1964, he purchased 11 airplanes that made up McCulloch International Airlines and built Lake Havsau Hotel to accommodate prospective clients. Robert McCulloch’s empire continued to expand, with the creation of McCulloch Oil Corporation in the 1950’s. C.V. Wood, who had been involved with the planning of the original Disneyland and the first Six Flags Park in Arlington Texas, became the president of McCulloch Oil.
In 1964, McCulloch opened a chainsaw manufacturing plant and in a few years established two more plants with over 400 employees. By now the area had become a focal point for recreation and retirement development, and it soon became the county’s largest community.
The original Nautical Inn was built by Mr. McCulloch and opened in 1964 with only 16 rooms. The Nautical Inn included a cocktail lounge and a 180 seat dining room with a view of Thompson Bay. In 1969, Mr. McCulloch built the Bay Rooms and Cove Suites. He stayed in the Commodore and Captain Suites, which were connected with an elevator to take him to the second floor to the bedrooms. He stayed here for several years, while he was developing Lake Havasu, until he eventually built his own home in the city.
In 1968, Mr. McCulloch was looking for a unique attraction to spur land sales in the area and purchased the London Bridge for $2,460,000. The Bridge was reconstructed in Lake Havasu in 1971.
Through 1978, the Nautical Inn was the hotel of choice for prospective buyers of land in Lake Havasu. Not only was The Nautical Inn available for prospective buyers, who were flown in free by McCulloch’s Airlines, it was also one of the nicest places for locals to gather.
Having provided the perfect vacation spot for countless politicians and celebrities over the years, the Nautical Beachfront Resort has undergone several renovations and expansions since, the most recent of which was the development of the infamous Turtle Beach Bar and renovation of The Turtle Grille.
Currently, the Nautical Beachfront Resort is developing a Master Plan to include taking it to a new level of guest enjoyment not experienced anywhere in Arizona. We will keep you updated as plans become available. If you’re looking for a one-stop destination resort, the Nautical Beachfront Resort is where you’ll want to stay. It is Arizona’s only beachfront resort featuring accommodations for leisure, business and group travelers. Enough can’t be said about this remarkable dream for a city in the Arizona desert and the creation of the Nautical Beachfront Resort. Today, Lake Havasu City is a vibrant, prosperous community that continues to attract guests to the Nautical Beachfront Resort from all over the country and the world.
Come make history, and enjoy a memorable stay at the Nautical Beachfront Resort with its host of recreational activities, sandy beaches, on-site water park, Island Executive Golf Course, renowned Turtle Grille Restaurant, and brand-new infinity-edge pool, WET.
History adapted from the book “Images of America, Lake Havasu City” by Frederic B. Wildfang.