5 Iconic Landmarks That Were Once On Sale

5 Iconic Landmarks That Were Once On Sale
The New York city skyline with the Empire State Building , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

From the Empire State Building to the Stonehenge, here are the world-famous attractions that changed ownership over the years

Labanya Maitra
October 17 , 2020
02 Min Read

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a whole lot more. New York’s iconic Chrysler building changing ownership in 2018. We couldn’t help but wonder what other landmarks were once on sale.

New York City skyline with urban skyscrapers at sunset


The Empire State Building

Ever since 1961, 2,800 owners retained ownership of New York (and the world’s) once-tallest building. In 2013, however, the Empire State Building’s shareholders agreed to the public sale of the building in a $4.2 billion IPO. The iconic skyscraper is currently New York’s sixth tallest building. The One World Trade Center and the Central Park Tower are the top two, respectively.

London bridge over Lake Havasu, Arizona

The London Bridge

In 1968, American industrialist Robert McCulloch bought the iconic London Bridge and transferred it, brick-by-brick, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Ever since the 1960s, London was trying to sell the bridge as it was, quite literally, falling down—and renovation was too expensive. The bridge was packed and shipped to Long Beach, California, from where it was transported and re-installed in Arizona.

Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell hanging in Philadelphia symbolised freedom in America ever since it rang to announce the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The original bell was re-cast twice, and 70 years after that it was nearly sold as scrap metal. The reason the bell still stands is because it would have cost more to lower it from its four-storey perch, compared to the $400 that the city wanted for it.

 The iconic Stonehenge in UK

The Stonehenge

Up until 1915, the property on which the Stonehenge now stands was privately owned by the Antrobus family. However, after the family’s sole heir was killed in World War I, the property was divided in 89 lots and put up on sale. The Stonehenge, on Lot 15, was bought by Cecil Chubb, who then gifted it to his wife. Unimpressed by the then-decrepit stones, the couple deeded the land to the United Kingdom, and Chubb was knighted in honour.

The world famous landmark Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California

The Hollywood Sign

In the late 1970s, the Hollywood sign had lost its once-charming facade. Renovation would cost nearly $2,50,000. In response, Hugh Hefner threw a Gatsby-esque fundraiser in his Playboy Mansion and sold each letter for $27,700. In 2002, however, a “Save the Peak” campaign was launched as investors tried to develop the land near the iconic symbol. Hugh Hefner stepped in, yet again, and covered the $1 million difference that was needed to save the location of the now-renovated sign.

Turns out, if you have enough of it, money can buy most things you desire.


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