Dig deeper into Lilac Way’s story.

Once you start down the rabbit hole, you’ll be amazed where it takes you.

Resources will be added as they are available. Have something to share on this page? Contact Karen.

MnDOT Documents

It’s a Lilac Way pot of gold—Lilac Way Inventories from 1964 and 1997, Gemini Research reports, and MnDOT reports. Get a cup of coffee and settle in.


Lots of cool stuff—360° walk around Graeser Park’s beehive, CCX News stories, the Lions Club’s hard work. Or watch a video of the SLP beehive fireplace moving to its new location in 2008.

Video Transcripts

One cold Minnesota winter, I transcribed TPT’s Highway 100: Lilac Way 2001 film. Totally worth it, now it’s searchable. Or, you can watch the film.

MnDOT Library

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has a Research Services & Library website. Here is the search page. (Not sure what is viewable to public.)


In The News (Print)

Korf, Jamie and McMurtrey, Garrison. May/June 2015. Highway 100, Then and Now. Live | Play | AAA Magazine. 5.2MB PDF, 5 pages

Sullivan, Joe. Fall 2008. Highway 100: Minnesota’s First Freeway Once Known As ‘Beltline’ & ‘Lilac Way’. City of Edina About Town Magazine. 1.3MB PDF, 7 pages

MN State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

The 106 Group. Prepared by Mathis, Greg. October 16, 2006. Graeser Park – Minnesota History/Architecture Inventory Form.  Project: CSAH 81 Hennepin, Robbinsdale, MN. 800KB PDF, 4 pages

The Lilac Way Legacy Project Award, AASHTO

2003. Lilac Way was chosen for a Legacy Award for its place-sensitive design, strong historic and cultural preservation effort and extensive citizen involvement by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. 135KB PDF, 1 page


Dombrowsky, Peter W. 1988. Graeser Park: Proposed Hennepin County Library, Robbinsdale Branch. Senior Thesis Project, Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota. 10.3MB PDF, 11 pages

Website Links (External)

Living New Deal: Documenting the New Deal Legacy. Lilac Way parks should be added to their list.

Cartwright, R.L. St. Paul native John Vachon made a mark with his photographs of the Depression-era Midwest. minnpost.com, May 6 2019

Castleman, Monte. A History of Highway 100 Part One: Overview. Streets.Mn, June 12 2019.

Castleman, Monte. A History of Highway 100 Part Two: The Parks of Lilac Way. Streets.Mn. July 17 2019. (He includes some parks that were not included in the original seven Lilac Way parks.)

Castleman, Monte. A History of Minnesota’s Highways Part One. Streets.Mn. July 17 2019.

Kopischke, Greg. Morell & Nichols. zenithcity.com

Kopischke, Greg. Pioneers of American Landscape Design II. Morell & Nichols section only.

Multiple authors. MnDot Library Catalog, Minnesota Department of Transportation. reflections.mndigital.org

Minnesota Highways. Summer 1968 newsletter. Pages 10-12, discusses Excelsior Boulevard intersection redesign, but doesn’t mention Excelsior Blvd. Park, which was removed for this construction. reflections.mndigital.org

National Park Service. 2006. New Deal Roadside Landscape Features: Identifying Significant Themes. Informative outline of MnDOT’s statewide inventory of historic roadside facilities. nps.gov

National Park Service. PARKitecture in Western National Parks. Early Twentieth Century Rustic & Design Naturalism. The Gateways section shows photos that resemble Lilac Way entrance signage.

National Archives Catalog. Works Progress Administration, MN (document search).

Meshbesher, Samuel. The rise and fall of Minneapolis’ Gateway District. MinnPost. 7.01.2019.

Budburst.org. Uncovers the stories of how lilacs are affected by a changing climate.

Dead Pioneer. Sept. 14, 2014. Final Surviving Remnants of the Original Lilac Way in St Louis Park. 9.14.2014. DeadPioneer.com

Request Works Progress Administration (WPA) Personnel Records, National Archives. The WPA personnel records consist of forms that often detail employees’ project assignments, certification for relief, service initiation
and termination, and earnings. These records are archival as they have been transferred by the originating agency to the legal custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

_____, Seth. May 14, 2014. The Beehives of Highway 100, Twin Cities. HighwayHighlights.com

_____. Oct. 17, 2014. Lilac Way: Showcase of the Belt Line. ForgottenMinnesota.com

Images (External site, large images may load a bit slowly)

Index of Hennepin County Aerial Photography

Aerial photos of Lilac Way have an amazing wealth of info—parks, roads, landscaping. The Index of Hennepin County aerial photography includes 1937, 19401951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1991

Maps of particular Lilac Way interest

1940. Highway 12 (now 394) and Highway 100 Interchange

1945. Above Graeser Park in 1945, Robbinsdale.

1956. Graeser Park and Twin Lakes (the second cloverleaf at bottom of photo is the first cloverleaf built in MN, located at Highways 7 and 100.

Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online

Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online show state of MN with aerial photos from 1920 – 2000. Easy to use, just zoom into your preferred area and select the time period.

Hennepin County Interactive Map

Hennepin County Interactive Map, shows high-resolution aerial photos, 2000 – present.