Beehive Fireplaces

Designed for a slower time, people loaded their family into the car and drove to Lilac Way to roast a hot dog and picnic in the roadside parks.

There are only two beehive fireplaces left in the U.S. Learn more

Graeser Park’s restored beehive fireplace

As part of an extensive 2021-23 restoration project, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program restored Graeser Park’s rare beehive fireplace. One of only two remaining beehive fireplaces and the only one it its original location, it is now a community treasure. All work by MnDOT was designed and constructed according to Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Follow Graeser Park’s beehive—from 1940, through years of neglect, and finally to its restoration in 2023.

These 44 images quickly follow the history of this rare beehive fireplace. One of only two in the U.S., it is the only one in its original location. Follow this rare Lilac Way feature through more than eight decades.

Lilac Park’s renovated beehive fireplace

Follow the story of this rare beehive fireplace. It was moved from the old Lilac Park at Minnetonka Boulevard to another Lilac Way park near Highway 7. After renewal, that park was renamed Lilac Park to honor the lost park. Now saved from demolition, it is a treasure.

How the beehive fireplace was saved, 2008

In 2008, Otting Movers carefully moved the beehive fireplace in the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard in St Louis Park to save it from road construction. Safely relocated to another Lilac Way park on Highway 7, it has been lovingly renovated. Each May, a 100-ft. lilac hedge blooms in the park.

Beehive Design 1937

These quirky 1939 beehive-shaped fireplaces were designed by MnDOT. Nicknamed ‘beehives’ because they look like skeps—baskets placed open-end-down—used to house bees for more than 2,000 years.

MnDOT’s ‘Beehive Graveyard’

In 1997, MnDOT inventoried Lilac Way parks before a construction project. Salvaged parks materials were moved to their parking lot. This pile of 1939 Lilac Way picnic tables and beehive materials became known as the ‘Beehive Graveyard.’ We toured that graveyard in 2008, stunned to see pieces of picnic tables, beehive fireplaces, and walls in neat piles. These materials were moved to storage in Robbinsdale, and used to rebuild and restore Graeser Park.