These Graeser Park photos follow its history and 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.

January 2024: Graeser Park is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places!

After reviewing thorough and well-written documentation from MnDOT, on January 22, 2024 the MN State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) agreed that Graeser Park is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Now that it is eligible, there is another step to get it officially listed on the Register.

Read the blog article or download MnDOT’s press release. Amazing news!

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. We hope it becomes an annual Whiz Bang Days! Thanks to all the volunteers. Photos: Mark Christman and Restore Lilac Way.

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

With the installation of the informational graphic, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program wrapped up their extensive restoration project in Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, MN. The final result is jaw-dropping, and more than anyone could have imagined.

EAI Historic Restoration (AKA The A-Team) 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 Graeser Parks picnic area.

In this phase, EAI Restoration focusing on safety and accessibility. They added a new accessible walk along Broadway with a loop into the picnic area to a new accessible picnic table near the beehive. A new 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 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, 1939-1964

These photos show Graeser Park just after construction was completed and through the 1960s. Designed by Landscape Architect Arthur Nichols.

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.

Graeser Park – 2020

Graeser Park, aerial photos 2020

These amazing bird’s eye view photos show the scale and design of this historic Lilac Way park in Robbinsdale, MN.

Graeser Park, 2020

Efforts continue to preserve this historic 1939 Lilac Way park in Robbinsdale, MN.

Graeser Park’s Beehive Fireplace, 2020

One of only two remaining beehive fireplaces, it is the only one in its original location. Community efforts are growing to restore this rare piece of Lilac Way history.

Maintaining Graeser Park, 2020

Volunteer efforts by Robbinsdale Lions Club to preserve Graeser Park are on hold until they apply to and are approved for MnDOT’s new Highway Sponsorship program. Visitors are always welcome at Graeser Park.

Graeser Park, buried staircase found in 2020

Two years of a Lilac Way archeological dig finally unearthed the bottom step of a lost 1939 stone stairway. Buried by MnDOT in the early 2000s, volunteers Beth Good, Jeannine McDonald and the Robbinsdale Lions Club found this Graeser Park structure.

***Sept. 2020 update: A MNDOT contractor will restore (rebury) the stairway. It was covered as part of the support system for the rebuilt Broadway Ave. bridge. It is possible they will be able to reclaim some of the walk/wall materials to be used in other areas.***

Graeser Park, searching for a buried stairway, 2018-20

Devoted Graeser Park Beehiver Beth Good and other volunteers spent many hours and weekends with one mission—find an original 1939 stone stairway that we think was buried by MnDOT in the early 2000s.

***Sept. 2020 update: A MNDOT contractor will restore (rebury) the stairway. It was covered as part of the support system for the rebuilt Broadway Ave. bridge. It is possible they will be able to reclaim some of the walk/wall materials to be used in other areas.***

Graeser Park, new signage 2020

*** Sept. 2020 update: MnDOT has directed us to remove the signage. We are hoping to put them back someday.*** Designed to inform and educate park visitors, they
– welcomed people to this historic 1939 Lilac Park
– documented the history
– shared details of the beehive fireplace
– honored Robbinsdale Lions’ volunteer stewardship and
– explained the staircase discovery
Writer: Kristi Gibson, Robbinsdale Historical Society for writing the content. All time and expenses were donated.

Graeser Park – 2019

Wells Fargo volunteers cleanup Graeser Park, October 2019

Volunteers from Wells Fargo weeded and cleaned up this historic park. Beth Good, Kim Brimley, Nestor Quarshie and Jennifer Kodet joined Robbinsdale Lions Kent Brun and Rene Buchanan to make a difference.

Graeser Park, Newly Discovered Structures, 2019

A picnic table platform, pathways to a buried staircase and multiple bump-out areas for landscaping were found. Lilac Way’s Archaeological Dig continues, thanks to the Robbinsdale Lions Club.

Graeser Park, June 2019

These dramatic photos show the progress made by the Robbinsdale Lions and the Graeser Park Beehivers. So much work and effort!

Maintaining Graeser Park, 2019

The Robbinsdale Lions are back at work, maintaining Lilac Way’s Graeser Park.

Graeser Park’s beehive fireplace protected, March 28th, 2019

The City of Robbinsdale installed protective fencing around Graeser Park’s 1939 beehive fireplace to prevent future damage of this historic Lilac Way parkitecture. It is one of only two beehive fireplaces in the U.S., and the only beehive in its original location.

Graeser Park – 2018

Maintaining Graeser Park, 2018

The Robbinsdale Lions Club and individual Graeser Park Beehivers have transformed Graeser Park from a forgotten park to a showcase. They removed trees, weeded, and cleaned to help bring this park back to life.

Graeser Park ‘Meet me at the Beehive’ events, 2018

To raise awareness, Kristi Gibson at the Robbinsdale Historical Society did a stupendous job organizing a series of free community events at the park in July-September 2018. Included ‘Yoga at the Beehive,’ a painting party, and Old Log Theatre performing songs from their hit show, ‘Beehive.’

Graeser Park, 2018

Growing community support was driven by the Robbinsdale Lions Club, Kristi Gibson at the Robbinsdale Historical Society, and the relaunch of

Graeser Park bandshell and overlook wall, 2018

A home to concerts, musicians and events since 1939, this 14′-wide curving lookout bay has three sets of limestone steps leading to park.

Graeser Park – 2012-2016

Graeser Park, 2016

By 2016, the Robbinsdale Lions Club had been working on the park for eight years, and these photos show their dedication.

Graeser Park, 2015 Cleanup Day

These 2015 photos show early discovery of 1939 Lilac Way structures buried under years of nature. Big thanks to Colleen Patterson for the photos.

Graeser Park, 2014

Lilac Way enthusiast Karen Laukkonen stood in deep snow to get these photos during a snowy March.

Graeser Park, 2013

This one photo shows the south end of the park at the food of the Broadway Ave. bridge. In 2013, it was completely overgrown. Photo: Jeannine McDonald

Graeser Park, 2012

Arlo and his mom Jesica took these photos in 2012. Now, Arlo is a full-fledged volunteer at the park.

Graeser Park – 1997-2010

Graeser Park, 2010

The Robbinsdale Lions Club began maintaining Graeser Park in 2008, so these photos show early days of their efforts. Thanks to Lion Colleen Patterson for these photos.

Graeser Park, June 2010

These photos of Graeser Park’s overgrown rock garden were taken on June 24, 2010 by John Hermanson.

Graeser Park, 2007

Taken for the original launch of in 2007, these photos show the sad state of this historical Lilac Way park.

Graeser Park, 2001

The park with the building of the new West Broadway Avenue bridge.

Graeser Park, 2000

We found these May 2000 photos online in a MnDOT photo inventory. The images may not quite be up to our typical standards, but still worth viewing. The photos were scans of laser print-outs. The search is on for the original photos.

Graeser Park, 1997

Just one photo, found in MnDOT’s 1998 Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways report by Susan Granger, Scott Kelly and Kay Grossman. Hoping to add more photos as available.