Take an online drive down Lilac Way.
Browse photos—old and new—of beehive fireplaces and wayside rest parks.
See the dramatic before/after photos of preservation, restoration and renewal efforts of three parks. Follow the construction of Highway 100 in the 1930s.
In 1939, the Minnesota Highway Department created seven roadside parks along a 12.5 mile stretch of Highway 100 known as Lilac Way. It was part of the Belt Line, a road that circled around the Twin Cities.
The Belt Line highway was one of the largest Works Progress Administration Projects in Minnesota, providing jobs during the Great Depression.
GRAESER PARK | RESTORED, 2021-2023 Robbinsdale, MN
LILAC PARK | RENEWED, 2008-2009 Formerly Roadside Park, St. Louis Park, MN
ROCK ISLAND PARK | SAVED FROM DEMOLITION All that remains of the old Lilac Park is on the north end, St. Louis Park, MN. The City of SLP voted YES! on May 1, 2023, and the city now owns the rock garden area of the park. They purchased the north meadow, with usage TBD.
BLAZER PARK | LOST, 1999 Golden Valley, MN
EXCELSIOR BOULEVARD PARK | LOST, 1969 St. Louis Park, MN
GLENWOOD AVENUE PARK | LOST, 1959 Golden Valley, MN
GRAESER PARK SOUTH | LOST, 1999 Robbinsdale, MN
LILAC PARK (OLD) | LOST, 1999 South end only, St. Louis Park, MN
Historic photos of seven Lilac Way Parks, 1939-41
Hand-built by unemployed stonemasons during the Great Depression, Lilac Way’s beehive fireplaces were located roadside parks along Highway 100. The National Park Service and MnDOT can document only two “beehive” fireplaces remaining in the U.S. Learn more
Beehive fireplace design, 1937
Graeser Park’s restored beehive fireplace, 2022
Lilac Park’s revived beehive fireplace, saved from road demolition
Moving a historic beehive fireplace
MnDOT’s former Beehive Graveyard, 2008
Construction during the Great Depression
First cloverleaf interchange in MN
Road workers from Minneapolis’ Gateway District, 1937-39
In the 1930s, a group of amazing women sold lilacs for 15 cents each, raising money to plant lilacs on Highway 100. Then they had a parade. Learn more
The Golden Valley Garden Club
Lilac Way display, Golden Valley Historical Society Museum