Graeser Park’s long-awaited preservation is almost complete.

MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program continues its preservation project in this Lilac Way park in Robbinsdale, MN.

Browse the videos and photo albums below for an up-close look at their work. Environmental Associates Inc. (EAI) were the experts behind this beautiful preservation.

Graeser Park was constructed by and is still owned by MnDOT (and the people of Minnesota) and managed under the Historic Roadside Property Program.


09.04.2022, 9877. MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program preserved the rare beehive fireplace and rebuilt 11 tables in Graeser Park’s picnic area.

MnDOT plans to convey the park land to the City of Robbinsdale after their preservation efforts are complete. Volunteers were cleaning the rock garden when video was taken.

05.18.2022, 7675. Andrea Weber, MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Manager: “This is Luke (younger of 2 on left) and Bill, they are the best! Keep in mind that they shaped this arch piece out of a square stone block. They had to arch both top and bottom, angle the ends, and arch the front face of this stone due to the round shape of the beehive.

They do this by hand with chisels. That was the hardest part. They did this for every new stone in each arch. All of the arch stones had to be replaced due to breakage or because they were missing.”

10.26.21. One of 11 tables returning to Graeser Park for the first time in 20+ years. Six tables were installed in 2021. The remaining five tables and the beehive fireplace restoration will be completed in spring 2022. Thanks to MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program for making this happen for this community.

10.20.21. Take a virtual walk around the Graeser Park beehive fireplace. MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Properties Program has started preservation.

Per MnDOT: “The beehive openings will have a wire grate on them to block off the firebox opening (the SLP Beehive has a metal and glass closure). Much of the damage to the structures was likely due to excessively sized fires, as you can see from the broken stones at the top of the firebox arches which then weakened the structure.”

10.07.2021. EAI Historic Restoration group removed 80+ years of dirt from this historic Depression-era beehive fireplace. Love the dramatic before/after.

10.07.2021. MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property and Waysides Program brought in EAI Historic Restoration group for Graeser Park’s important preservation project. We were lucky to get the A-Team for this project. EAI rebuilt the picnic table platforms.

See Graeser Park’s transformation.

Graeser Park beehive preservation and rebuilt picnic tables, July 2022

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

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.

CCX Media: More restoration underway at Robbinsdale’s Graeser Park

10.10.21. Volunteers, who were instrumental in unearthing Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, were ecstatic to see crews power washing the “beehive” fireplace and replacing stones this week.

The stone pads and vintage picnic tables and benches will eventually be reset in the park.

Robbinsdale’s Graeser Park could be closer to city ownership

Sept. 4, 2020 – CCX Media’s Neil Pursley discussed Graeser Park’s ownership with Robbinsdale City Manager Marcia Glick, as well as MnDOT’s Andrea Weber. Both indicate that they may be getting closer to an agreement.

Once Graeser Park is owned by the City, plans to preserve and restore the park can continue MnDOT’s 2021-2022 project.

Watch the video, or read the transcript. You can also read the CCX article. Length: 3:08. Thanks, Neil!

The 2020-2029 Robbinsdale Capital Improvement Plan shows $190,000 allocated for Graeser Park Improvements.

Robbinsdale Capital Improvement Plan, 2020-29 (detail). Projects and funding sources for Park System.

In spring 2021, MnDOT removed invasive, damaged and diseased trees in Graeser Park’s rock garden.

Graeser Park, April 21, 2021. Looking over rock garden towards W. Broadway.

Graeser Park got a little TLC from MnDOT in March 2021. Four diseased and damaged volunteer trees in the rock garden were removed on Monday.

They included a boxelder and mulberry on the slope near W. Broadway, and two elms near the rock garden pond. The elm roots were causing damage to the stone paths and pond edging.

Robbinsdale Lions Club have been volunteer stewards of Graeser Park since 2008.

As proud volunteer stewards, Robbinsdale Lions Club volunteers have been working for years to clear paths and stone structures in the rock garden and take out invasive plants and shrubs. They’ve accomplished a lot since first starting in 2008.

Now their work is on hold, pending completion of MnDOT’s preservation project. MnDOT plans to convey the easement to the City of Robbinsdale upon completion of the project.

Graeser Park, Aug. 1, 2020. Lion Jeannine McDonald removes weeds from 1939 stonework.
Meet the Graeser Park Beehivers—volunteers focused on saving Lilac Way’s Graeser Park.

Meet the core group of passionate and enthusiastic volunteers with one goal—to raise community awareness and funding to preserve and restore Graeser Park. who use and enjoy the park, those who share the experience of the park through stories and photos, and good-hearted souls who help keep the park neat by picking up litter.

Fans who follow and like Graeser Park on social media, and anyone who wants to see the beehive restored and preserved for future generations are also Beehivers.

What Depression-era structures are being preserved in Graeser Park?

Beehive fireplace

Preservation complete

Picnic tables

Eleven rebuilt

Rock garden

Pond wall repair

Limestone benches

Minor stone repair

Picnic tabletops and bases saved from MnDOT’s ‘Beehive Graveyard’ were used to rebuild picnic tables in Graeser Park.

When MnDOT dismantled three Lilac Way parks for road construction, they saved the fragments, tabletops and bases in the Beehive Graveyard.

In 2008, the City of Robbinsdale had the foresight to collect that salvaged stonework and keep them in storage for safekeeping. Thirteen years later, they were used to rebuild 11 tables in Graeser Park.


Follow Graeser Park Restoration & Preservation nonprofit group on Facebook.