Discover the story of Lilac Way.

Lined with 7,000 lilac bushes, Lilac Way was a 12.5 mile ‘Showcase Section’ of Highway 100 near Minneapolis, MN.

Built by the WPA during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it featured seven roadside parks with beehive-shaped fireplaces and stunning rock gardens.

Only two parks remain today, plus a rock garden from a third park. Visit preserved Graeser Park and renewed Lilac Park to see the only two remaining beehive fireplaces.

BRAVO! MnDOT has completed their Graeser Park restoration project.

MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program has

  • restored the rare beehive fireplace,
  • rebuilt 11 picnic tables using salvaged stonework from lost Lilac Way parks,
  • installed ADA accessible paths and picnic table
  • installed informational signage,
  • repaired and repointed four benches, pond walls, some paths in rock garden,
  • planted 120 perennials plus shrubs,
  • and much more.

We are all grateful to Program Manager Andrea Weber for making this historic park a priority.

MnDOT plans to convey the park to the city of Robbinsdale, date TBD.

Rock Island Park, Sept. 8, 2021. The curved hand-cut stone bench, built as one of MN's largest WPA projects.

HUGE NEWS! On May 1, 2023 the City of St. Louis Park voted YES to save Rock Island Park from development.

Community efforts to save a Lilac Way park were successful. On May 1, 2023, St. Louis Park’s City Council voted YES to Rock Island Park.

They passed two resolutions — to accept Rock Island Park’s south parcel from MnDOT for $0 and use it for park purposes, and to buy the park’s north parcel for $187,000 with no use restrictions.

After the city controls the north parcel, staff anticipate the land will be maintained as-is until there is public process with the community and council direction on the appropriate land use.

This 1930s WPA hand-built Lilac Way park is located near 28th St. and Toledo Ave. Rock Island Park is a ‘sister park’ to renewed Lilac Park, and one of only two rock gardens left in MN.

lilacway-lilac-iconWhat was Lilac Way?

The Lilac Way was considered the ‘Showcase’ section of Highway 100 in Minneapolis, MN. Built as a WPA project during the 1930s, this 12.5 mile stretch of highway was lined with thousands of lilacs and seven historic roadside parks.

lilacway-lilac-iconWhy was Highway 100 called Lilac Way?

Inspired by the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., in 1935 a local newspaper encouraged the MN Highway Department to plant lilacs along the new Highway 100. They agreed, and a garden club helped raise money.


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Watch 100+ Lilac Way videos on YouTube with playlists for Graeser Park, restored Lilac Park and Rock Island Park.

Beehive Fireplaces
 Seven Parks
Graeser Park, June 19, 2022. Beehive fireplace, preservation by MnDOT Historic Roadside Property Program. New accessible walk.
Graeser Park
Lilac Park

Where were the seven Lilac Way parks located on Highway 100?

If you grew up in the area, you probably remember the roadside parks with with picnic tables. The fireplaces had round tops and were nicknamed ‘beehives.”

Only two of the seven parks remain today. Sadly, the other five parks were razed for Highway 100 reconstruction. Check the map for locations and info.

Meet the designer and Lilac Way enthusiast behind this volunteer project.

Karen Laukkonen launched to document Lilac Way’s history, and support and encourage restoration.

The pro bono project was conceived, written and designed through her website design company, Laukkonen Design.

Browse the photo albums.

Photo Albums Overview Page

Start your virtual drive down Lilac Way’s history and parks right here.


St. Louis Park, MN


Robbinsdale, MN

RENEWED: Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park)

St. Louis Park, MN

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