“I love the beehive fireplace now located in renewed Lilac Park. My mom and dad and my brother and my auntie and I used it for picnics years ago when it was located in the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard in the 1950s before it was moved to this park. We grilled hot dogs in the beehive fireplace.

Some of the elementary schools in the 1950s used to have end-of-year picnics for their students at the original Lilac Park. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores in the beehive fireplace. All the tables and benches looked so cool, like something Fred Flintstone would have made. They looked beautiful with the trees and green grass.

I also went there with friends, we rode our bikes to get there because we lived close by and loved to explore all the little stone or rock pathways. It felt so “out in the woods” even though the HUGE Highway 100 was right next to it! And the lilacs smelled so good too.

But it was the beehive fireplace that made it so special. The shape was magnificent to me even though I was still so young then. I ended up at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture and think that there might be a connection between those early childhood park experiences and my love for the built environment….who knows!

I also remember Monkey Island, now known as Rock Island. Even back then I was always curious about WHY it was named Monkey Island because I never could find any monkeys! But just the name brings back long ago feelings of excitement.

I had three memorial trees planted at this new Lilac Park when the City of SLP was starting restoration—one each for my mom, dad and auntie. I love seeing those trees when I come to visit.

Thanks to everyone for restoring this beautiful park, it is such a treasure. If I lived closer I would be there weeding too!”

Restore Lilac Way comment:

Why was it called Monkey Island? Monkey Island, now known as Rock Island, is one of only 2.5 Lilac Way parks remaining today. In the 1930s, the WPA built seven parks along Lilac Way, as well as Como Park Zoo’s ‘Monkey Island’, barn and Main Zoo building. Rock Island’s nickname comes from Como Park’s ‘Monkey Island.’ Como Park renamed their island ‘Seal Island’ in the 1980s.

Restore Lilac Way hopes the City of St. Louis Park will save and preserve it. Learn more about this park.

View the photo albums of Rock Island/Monkey Island (North end of Lilac Park), and photos of the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard (South end) before it was lost to road construction.

The left photo shows the 1939 beehive fireplace in the original Lilac Park near Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park, MN. The right photo shows the same beehive, after it was moved to save it from demolition, then revived. The beehive’s current park location was renamed Lilac Park in tribute to the original lost Lilac Park.

Postcard of Monkey Island at Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, MN. Pinterest, The WOODSHED Revisited.

Rock Island in 2019, after extensive volunteer cleanup efforts. Rock Island in 2019, after extensive volunteer cleanup efforts.