Roadside Parks of Lilac Way

Designed for a simpler time, these roadside parks drew people in— pulling off Highway 100, visitors roasted hot dogs, played games and enjoyed a picnic.

Created by well-known landscape architect Arthur Nichols, they had a rustic design, beehive-shaped fireplaces and Fred Flintstone-style picnic tables. Learn more

Original Lilac Way Parks, 1939-41

1 album

There were seven original Lilac Way parks—Graeser North, Graeser South, Blazer, Glenwood, Lilac (original), Roadside on Hwy 7, and Excelsior Boulevard.

RENEWED: Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park), St. Louis Park, MN

11 albums

The pride of St. Louis Park, the original ‘Roadside Park’ now features the moved-and-renewed beehive fireplace from Minnetonka Boulevard, a council ring, and five stone picnic tables. It is now well-used, and well-loved.

RESTORED: Graeser Park, Robbinsdale MN

41 albums

Once the largest of the Lilac Way parks, Graeser Park has once again taken center stage. MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program completed a $500,000, three-year restoration project in 2023. The beehive fireplace is one of only two in the U.S., and the only one in its original location.

SAVED FROM DEMOLITION: Rock Island (AKA Monkey Island) North end of original Lilac Park, St. Louis Park, MN

16 albums

This wonderful rock garden is all that remains of the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard. On May 1, 2023 the City of St. Louis Park voted YES! to Rock Island, bringing it under the ownership of city. The north parcel was purchased by the city, with future use TBD. THANK YOU!

LOST: Blazer Park, Golden Valley, MN

1 album

Blazer Park was located on the west side of Highway 100, between Highway 55 and Lilac Drive North. A large 3-acre park, it had 300+ lilac bushes and was razed for road construction.

LOST: Lilac Park (original), South end only, Minnetonka Boulevard, St. Louis Park, MN

5 albums

BEEHIVE SAVED AND MOVED: The beehive fireplace and picnic table from this park on were saved and moved before the South end of this park was razed for road construction.

LOST: Excelsior Boulevard Park, St. Louis Park, MN

1 album

Unsafe road conditions led to this park’s removal in 1969. We feel lucky to have found seven images.

LOST: Glenwood Avenue Park, St. Louis Park, MN

1 album

Lost to road construction in 1959, this park had picnic tables and low fireplaces.

LOST: Graeser Park SOUTH, Robbinsdale, MN

Information about this park is scarce, but we found a few photos. Like the main Graeser Park NORTH, it had a beehive fireplace. It also had a council ring.