Lee R. Baxandall Bridge
at Desert Shadows Inn Resort and Villas
Palm Springs, California

           Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle that snaps satisfyingly into place, the span that will connect Desert Shadows Inn to its new condos across the street was gently lowered into place by a construction crane on January 15, 2003. The new footbridge over Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, California, will permit residents and guests of Desert Shadows to enjoy a clothing-optional conduit to the 17 new condominium units that are being developed across the public street from the resort's existing 33 hotel rooms and 59 condos.

The structure is believed to be the world's first naturist bridge over a public street.

Lee Baxandall, founder of The Naturist Society, retired last year and sold TNS to a group of three longtime employees. Lee remains an avid naturist and is an ad hoc board member of both the Naturist Education Foundation and the Naturist Action Committee.

On hand to watch the historic event was the founder of The Naturist Society, Lee Baxandall, for whom the bridge will be named. Baxandall and his wife Johanna winter at the resort.

According to Desert Shadows co-owner Stephen Payne, the main span of the new bridge is 110 feet long and weighs more than 25 tons. Built to withstand sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, the bridge allows 18 feet of clearance to the roadway below. The opaque sides of the main span rise 5.5 feet from the footpath, addressing the most frequently asked question about the bridge since its inception two years ago.

Built at a cost to Desert Shadows of more than $250,000, the bridge is already becoming a Palm Springs landmark. City planners have been part of the process since the beginning, and the city council approved the design of the bridge.

From its modest start in 1992 as an 11-room hotel, Desert Shadows has emerged as an economic powerhouse in Palm Springs. Quoted in the Desert Sun, Mayor Will Kleindienst identified Desert Shadows as a great asset for the city.

"Do not think," Kleindienst said, "that because they don't have clothes that they don't have a wallet."

Public dedication ceremonies for the new bridge are scheduled for February 13, 2003 with a less formal (and less clothed) celebration the following week.

The main span of the Lee R. Baxandall Bridge is lowered carefully into place.

Click on a picture for a larger view.

Lee and Johanna watch as the bridge takes shape.

Linda and Stephen Payne of Desert Shadows.

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