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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. Visit Graeser Park and restored Lilac Park to see the only two remaining beehive fireplaces.

We are raising community awareness to save Rock Island Park from demolition for housing.

BRAVO! Graeser Park’s rare beehive fireplace has been preserved, and 11 tables rebuilt in picnic area.

MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program project to preserve Graeser Park is nearly complete. They have preserved the rare beehive fireplace and rebuilt 11 picnic tables using salvaged stonework from lost Lilac Way parks.

Our community has waited a long time to enjoy a picnic on a Graeser Park picnic table. Congratulations to everyone for their endurance and tenacity! We are all grateful to Program Manager Andrea Weber at MnDOT for making this historic park a priority for her program.

Park will be conveyed to city

The city of Robbinsdale and MnDOT are fine-tuning an agreement for MnDOT to convey this property to the city. Once Graeser Park is owned by the city, plans to preserve and restore the park will continue.

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.

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, July 18, 2022. Beehive fireplace, preservation by MnDOT Historic Roadside Property Program.
Graeser Park
Lilac Park, restored

Supporting preservation of two historic 1939 Lilac Way parks

Preservation of Graeser Park’s rare beehive fireplace is done, and 11 stone picnic tables have been rebuilt in the picnic area!

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 continues their preservation project.

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.

GraeserPark-Beehivers-KarenLaukkonen

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 IS NEARLY COMPLETE: Graeser Park

Robbinsdale, MN

RESTORED: Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park)

St. Louis Park, MN

Become part of the Lilac Way Storytellers.