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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.

ROCK ISLAND PARK ALERT, Nov. 20, 2021

Rock Island staff report made public, to SLP Council on Nov. 22

Lilac Way’s Rock Island Park is on the agenda for the St. Louis Park city council study session on Monday, Nov. 22nd. A written report regarding ‘MnDOT excess land update – Toledo Avenue and 28th Street’ will be given to the Council.

ROCK ISLAND PARK ALERT, Oct. 16, 2021

All Lilac Way fans: Join the “Say Yes to Rock Island Park” virtual rally!

Help us show St. Louis Park Mayor Spano and the City Council that our community wants them to say YES, and accept Rock Island park for free from MnDOT. Send your photo today!

ROCK ISLAND PARK ALERT, Oct. 10, 2021

SLP Residents: Urge Mayor Spano and City Council to accept MnDOT offer of free historic Rock Island Park, save from private development

You only need to click one button on this page to send your own email to seven key decision-makers. Super quick and easy.

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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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 sale to a private developer. You can help.

MnDOT no longer needs the land surrounding Rock Island park, a 1930s WPA hand-built Lilac Way park near 28th St. and Toledo Ave. They offered the park and its land to the City of St. Louis Park at no cost on Sept. 30th. This historic park is a ‘sister park’ to restored Lilac Park, and one of only two rock gardens left in MN.

SLP residents: Urge the Mayor and City Council to accept the offer.

All Lilac Way supporters: 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 HAS STARTED: Graeser Park

Robbinsdale, MN

RESTORED: Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park)

St. Louis Park, MN

Become part of the Lilac Way Storytellers.