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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. Help support preservation of Rock Island Park and Graeser Park and visit restored Lilac Park.

New St. Louis Park Sun Sailor column profiles housing threat to historic Rock Island Park.

Read this Important St. Louis Park history hangs in the balance article from the April 11, 2022 Sun Sailor. SLP resident and freelance writer Bruce Lindquist profiled the threat of housing development to this rare Lilac Way park.

Latest updates to save Rock Island Park from development

Catch up with the latest news and efforts to to save Lilac Way’s Rock Island Park, one of only two rock gardens left in Minnesota.

Catch up on preservation of Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, MN.

MnDOT will be continuing their Graeser Park beehive preservation and installing more original stone picnic tables.

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 90+ Lilac Way videos on YouTube

Beehive Fireplaces
 Seven Parks
Graeser Park
Lilac Park, restored

Supporting preservation of two historic 1939 Lilac Way parks

Follow the progress to preserve Graeser Park and its rare beehive fireplace.

Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, MN has one of only two beehive fireplaces left in the U.S. Handcrafted in 1940 as one of seven of Lilac Way parks, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program launched a preservation project in 2020-21.

Group formed for future Graeser Park fundraising

The Graeser Park Restoration & Preservation (GPR&P) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with one mission – future fundraising to restore Graeser Park.

ALERT: Historic Rock Island park is facing a critical decision: preservation as a public park, or development for housing. You can help.

MnDOT has designated Rock Island Park and its surrounding meadows as surplus property. This 1930s WPA hand-built Lilac Way park is located near 28th St. and Toledo Ave. They met with the City of St. Louis Park staff to determine their interest in acquiring the land. This historic park is a ‘sister park’ to restored Lilac Park, and one of only two rock gardens left in MN.

Urge the Mayor and City Council to accept the offer.

Join the ‘Say YES to Rock Island Park!’ virtual rally.

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 Lilac Way enthusiast behind this volunteer project.

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Karen Laukkonen launched restorelilacway.com 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.

AT RISK: Rock Island

St. Louis Park, MN

PRESERVATION HAS STARTED: Graeser Park

Robbinsdale, MN

RESTORED: Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park)

St. Louis Park, MN

Become part of the Lilac Way Storytellers.