Those unusual beehive fireplaces were made by craftsmen with heart.

In the 1940’s, families would pile in cars and head to Lilac Way.

Pulling off Highway 100 into one of the seven roadside parks, they’d roast hot dogs in a beehive fireplace that was handmade by local stonemasons.

lilacway-lilac-iconUnder the WPA, unemployed stonemasons created each beehive using a wooden pattern, hand-cutting each block of limestone quarried from the Minnesota River near the Mendota Bridge.

  • Each stone was cut by hand
  • Graeser Park’s beehive in Robbinsdale, Minnesota was built by stonemason John Schulte of Minneapolis, MN
  • Entrance signs, limestone picnic tables, pools and rock gardens were built alongside the beehives
  • Workers built seven parks with rustic entrance signs, stone overlooks, picnic areas, and even ornamental pools and rock gardens in addition to the beehive fireplaces
  • Fixtures provided work for local stonemasons, as another part of the WPA project
  • Masonry is well-executed
  • Stonework displays special labor-intensive construction techniques and distinctive use of indigenous materials that characterize both the Rustic style and federal relief construction in MN
Lilac Park, restored, 2009. Restored beehive fireplace, handbuilt by the WPA in 1939.