PALM SPRINGS — To honor the legacy of Lawrence Crossley and the positive contributions he made to the city of Palm Springs and the greater community, Crossley Road and Golf Club Drive on the East side of Palm Springs will be renamed Lawrence Crossley Road.

The City Council has unanimously voted to rename the 1.37-mile section between East Ramon Road and East Palm Canyon Drive. The northern segment of the street is named Crossley Road, and changes to Golf Club Drive south of the intersection at 34th Avenue.

The new signs are being ordered and should be installed in the near future, Communications Director Amy Blaisdell said.

The change has been more than five years in the making.

Crossley Road, Golf Club Drive to be Renamed

Lawrence Crossley, first African American in Palm Springs, was a savvy businessman and friend of the Agua Caliente Indians.

The request to change the name of Crossley Road and Golf Club Drive was previously initiated by the residents of the Lawrence Crossley Neighborhood Organization and the Palm Springs Black History Committee. A petition was delivered to the Department of Planning Services on April 22, 2015, signed by 318 residents of the city supporting the name change request. The Planning Commission initiated discussion on the matter at its May 13, 2015, meeting.

From there things seem to have stalled — until now.

At the July 23, 2020, City Council Meeting, Councilmember Grace Garner requested staff to schedule reconsideration of the Street Name Change application for the August 6, 2020, meeting. Staff mailed a dual-language notice of the item to all property owners, tenants and businesses located within 500 feet from Crossley Road or Golf Club Drive. Approximately 1,600 notices were mailed.

The renamed street is to honor the contributions of Lawrence Crossley, a prominent African-American businessman and developer. Crossley first came to Palm Springs in the mid-1920’s to work as a chauffeur for P.T. Stevens, developer of the El Mirador Hotel.  Crossley was one of Stevens’ most trusted employees, and began managing many of his projects. He was responsible for the design of the El Mirador golf course, and later managed the Whitewater Mutual Water Company.

Over time, Crossley became a successful businessman, and developed a subdivision off 34th Avenue originally built for African American families. He was a trusted friend of Chief Francisco Patencio of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and became an advocate for Native American rights.

Crossley died in 1961.

 

 

Image Sources

  • Lawrence Crossley: Palm Springs Historical Society
  • Crossley street sign: Owned by the author