LOST: Graeser Park South

Graeser Park South had limestone picnic tables, a council ring, and water pump.

It was bounded by the Burlington Northern Railroad, Highway 100, and Scott Avenue.

Is this a long-lost photo of Graeser Park South?

Kristi Gibson at the Robbinsdale Historical Society found this AMAZING photo.

The 1964 Minnesota Department of Highways Maintenance Area 5A Wayside Rest Area Inventory,

Digitized by Minnesota Reflections, the inventory documents 25 wayside areas. Nine of those wayside areas are on the 12.5 mile stretch of Highway 100 known as Lilac Way.

It includes the seven main Lilac Way parks—Graeser North, Graeser South, Blazer, Glenwood, original Lilac Park (Minnetonka Boulevard), SLP Roadside Park (Highway 7) and Excelsior Boulevard Park.

It also profiles a picnic area with lake access on Twin Lake in Robbinsdale, and the Bassett’s Creek Rest and Picnic Area in Golden Valley.

MnRefl.Inventory1964.20-Robb-Graeser
Read the 1964 Wayside Rest Area Inventory with this photo.

You can also see a PDF file showing only the Lilac Way pages.

We need info about Graeser Park SOUTH. Can you help?

Graeser Park South Facts
  • Located several feet to south on other side of Broadway Avenue from Graeser Park
  • 1.7-acre park
  • Was physically separated from Graeser Park by West Broadway and railroad
  • Had picnic tables, large limestone council ring, well and pump for fresh water, and original stone and lumber “roadside parking” sign
  • Built in 1939
  • According to Rollie Heywood, long-time historian at Robbinsdale Historical Society, there was a path from the main Graeser Park that went under the West Broadway bridge (and possibly the railroad bridge) to the main Graeser Park
Historical info
  • One of seven original Lilac Way parks
  • Designed by Arthur Nichols, Landscape Architect
  • Built by Works Progress Administration (WPA) as part of one of Minnesota’s largest federal relief projects, 1934-1941
  • Hand-built by unemployed men during Great Depression
  • Significant in the state’s history of transportation
  • Determined ineligible for National Register status

What did the WPA build in Graeser Park South in 1939?

Research shows the following structures in Graeser Park South
  • Beehive fireplace (original plans called for three fireplaces)
  • Council ring
  • Six stone picnic tables, arranged around the council ring
  • Stone refuse container
  • Stone “Roadside Parking” sign
  • Pump with a pump shelter on the site

LOST: Graeser Park (SOUTH)

Read MnDOT’s 1964 Wayside Rest Area Inventory (JPG) for Graeser Park (SOUTH). This is the only photo of Graeser Park South that I have even found.

Read MnDOT’s 1997 Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventories (PDF) for Graeser Park (SOUTH).

Graeser Park (NORTH, with beehive fireplace)

Read MnDOT’s 1964 Wayside Rest Area Inventory (JPG) for the main Graeser Park (NORTH).

Read MnDOT’s 1997 Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventories (PDF) for the main Graeser Park (NORTH).