This 1935 ‘3,500 Bushes Planted Along Lilac Highway’ article describes the first plantings along Lilac Way.

Browse or search the story in easy-to-read, online-friendly text. Thanks to Kristi Gibson for sharing this article. Transcribed in June, 2021 by Restore Lilac Way with original punctuation and structure.

Minneapolis Journal  |  December 1, 1935

3,500 Bushes Planted Along Lilac Highway

600 Varied Trees Also Put in for Background Along Two-Mile Stretch

First planting on Minneapolis’ Lilac Way, destined to become one of the most famous and beautiful roadways of the country, were completed Saturday.

More than 3,500 lilac bushes have been planted along a distance of two miles and in addition about 600 elms, evergreens, weeping willows and poplars have been put in as background in some of the areas. More than 200 men were employed in November on the work.

Planting has been done on the highway between the Glenwood Avenue and Medicine Lake intersections, the stretch of belt line highway upon which the grading has been completed. Planting will be resumed in the spring and is to be rushed as fast as grading operations permit. Many of the bushes planted this fall will bloom in the spring, landscape engineers say.

Hills Add to Beauty

Lilacs planted this fall consist of 16 varieties, all Minnesota grown and adapted to our soil and climate. They vary in color, cream, white, reddish purple and blue being interspersed.

The highway has many long sweeping curves, and winds through hills and valleys which lend themselves to a most unusual beautification design. This design includes many small parked areas where trees and shrubs have been planted to accent the general landscape. To meet the problem of the short lilac blooming season, hydrangeas have been sown to supplement the color effect through the season and shade trees, including elms, poplars and weeping willows, make up the background.

One of these areas on a curve about a half mile north of the Glenwood Avenue intersection is two acres in extent and has been made into an arboretum with more than 300 lilac bushes as the basis of the beautification plan. On the straight-aways, lilacs are planted in rows several bushes deep on both sides of the highway, interrupted at intervals with open spaces.

Will Be 12 Miles Long

Lilac Way when completed is to be 12 miles long and will reach from Robbinsdale on the north to the Fort Snelling-Shakopee road on the south. It passes about a mile west of the city limits. The roadway will be six lanes wide and in addition there will be 70 feet of shoulder on each side of the lanes, making a 200 foot road.

It is being built as a federal project under state highway department supervision and is giving employment to upwards of 1500 men.

(Pictures of first lilac planting on page 7) – looking for these