PHOTO ALBUMS

RESTORED AND PRESERVED

Graeser Park, 2021-today

These Graeser Park photos follow MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program restoration project in Robbinsdale, MN.

Completed in 2023, the park has been transformed.

The beehive fireplace was restored, 11 picnic tables were rebuilt using stone salvaged from lost Lilac Way parks and there are ADA accessible sidewalks. The rock garden has come back to life.

Browse the photo albums to see the dramatic metamorphosis.

Scroll back in time from 2020 to see the park as it lost its luster.

These black and white photos show Graeser Park from 1940 through the 1960s.

Graeser Park – 2024

Graeser Park’s second annual Whiz Bang Days concert event

Quickly becoming a favorite event, about 150 Graeser Park fans joined their community to appreciate the 2023 completed restoration and the beauty of this historic Lilac Way park. What a wonderful evening, with the Robbinsdale City Band under the Direction of Chad Green, kids activities, rock garden tours and of course selfies with the beehive. Thank to Kristi Gibson of the Robbinsdale Historical Society and the dedicated volunteers for a perfect night. Photos by Mark Christman.

Graeser Park’s first summer after restoration, June 2024

The thoughtful landscaping by MnDOT Historic Roadside Properties is blooming. Thanks to our rainy spring, the grass has filled in and the park looks stunning.

Graeser Park – 2023

Graeser Park’s first autumn after restoration, October 2023

These gorgeous fall photos by Mark Christman Photography show the park after MnDOT completed their restoration project. Their $500,000 preservation and restoration project has brought this historic 1940 Lilac Way park bought to life.

Graeser Park’s Preservation Celebration, July 6, 2023

This event celebrated the completion of MnDOT’s restoration of the rare beehive fireplace, rebuilt tables and a transformed rock garden. It was sunny and 70°. Kristi Gibson organized a wonderful event with the Robbinsdale City Band, a speech by Andrea Weber from MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program and a fun crowd. Photos: Mark Christman and Restore Lilac Way.

MnDOT’s preservation and restoration project in Graeser Park is complete! June 28, 2023

With installation of informational graphic, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program wrapped up their restoration project in Robbinsdale, MN. The final result is  more than anyone could have imagined. EAI Historic Restoration rebuilt 10 picnic tables, repointed 9 pads, restored the rare 1930s beehive-shaped fireplace and made major improvements to the rock garden. The park is now accessible to everyone, with ADA paths and a picnic table.

See Graeser Park’s beehive fireplace—from its opening in 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.

Picnic area, Graeser Park: MnDOT’s final restoration phase, June 2023

As of June 20, 2023, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program has nearly wrapped up their three phrase project to restore the picnic area. EAI Restoration focused on safety and accessibility. They added an accessible walk along Broadway with a loop to a new accessible picnic table near the beehive. An interpretive sign was installed near the parking bay.

Rock garden, Graeser Park: MnDOT’s final restoration phase, June 2023

Restoration continued, including repointing the rock garden pond walls and benches. Shrubs and 120 perennials were added in the rock garden, and grass areas were re-graded and seeded.

The stonework was washed with a natural cleanser, removing the black and bringing the stones back to their original 1940 color,

Graeser Park – 2022

Graeser Park beehive preservation and rebuilt picnic tables, July 2022

Andrea Weber, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program Manager, has almost completed a project to preserve Graeser Park’s rare beehive fireplace and rebuild 11 picnic tables from salvaged Lilac Way stonework.

Graeser Park beehive preservation and rebuilt picnic tables, May 2022

A very chilly, drizzly spring has delayed MnDOT’s project to continue park preservation.Andrea Weber, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program Manager, is completing a project to preserve Graeser Park’s rare beehive fireplace and rebuild 11 picnic tables from salvaged Lilac Way stonework.

Graeser Park – 2021

Graeser Park, Nov. 16th, 2021 – MnDOT’s preservation project done for season

A chilly day to see Graeser Park’s five restored stone picnic tables in picnic area. The tables were built using salvaged stone from dismantled Lilac Way parks. Gorgeous fall colors, even in mid-November in MN. Restoration efforts will continue in spring 2022.

Graeser Park, Nov. 16th, 2021 – MnDOT’s preservation project done for season

A chilly day to see Graeser Park’s five restored stone picnic tables in picnic area. The tables were built using salvaged stone from dismantled Lilac Way parks. Gorgeous fall colors, even in mid-November in MN. Restoration efforts will continue in spring 2022.

Graeser Park, Oct. 7th and 20th, 2021 – MnDOT’s preservation project

The beehive fireplace was power-washed, three picnic tables bases were installed and 10 table pads were restored.

Graeser Park beehive fireplace and picnic area, Sept. 28, 2021

A gorgeous fall day showed this rare beehive fireplace in a warm light. Protected by a fence, this Lilac Way beehive is one of only two remaining, and the only one in its original location. A local resident spent time swinging in a hammock with a view of the beehive, great to see.

Graeser Park rock garden and first installed picnic table, Sept. 28, 2021

Visit this historic rock garden, and rest on the newly-rebuilt and -restored original 1930s picnic tables. The rock garden is a bit overgrown — cleanup efforts by the Robbindale Lions Club and volunteers are on pause while MnDOT completes their maintenance project. When that is done, MnDOT plans to release the easement to the City of Robbinsdale.

Views of Graeser Park’s first restored picnic table and a second platform – July 21, 2021

These July 20, 2021 photos shows the view of the first restored picnic table completed by Northern Bedrock from different locations in the park. A second table platform near the beehive fireplace was also restored, and they started restoring a third platform. The start of something wonderful.

Graeser Park, first picnic table installed – July 17, 2021

MnDOT brought in Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps and Advanced Masonry Restoration to raise original Depression-era picnic tables and install the first picnic table.

Graeser Park, April 2021

MnDOT removed four invasive, damaged and diseased trees from the park. They were ‘volunteer’ trees, not part of original landscaping. Removing them prevented future damage to the stonework.