From neglected ‘Roadside Park’ to renewed ‘Lilac Park’.

Formerly known as St. Louis Park Roadside Park, this 1939 Lilac Way park has been revitalized.

First MnDOT transferred ownership to the City. Then the remaining beehive fireplace and picnic table in the original ‘Lilac Park’ on Minnetonka Boulevard were moved here, saving them from demolition.

After renewal, the park’s name was changed to Lilac Park to honor that lost park.

The 100′ lilac hedge blooms in mid-to-late May every year. Map to Lilac Park



The ‘before’ photos show deteriorating 1939 structures.

Lilac Park Facts
  • 2.7-acre park
  • Located on SE corner of Highway 100 and Highway 7/County Road 25, just west of landmark Nordic Ware
  • Formerly known as St. Louis Park Roadside Park
  • Renamed Lilac Park after beehive from the old Lilac Park (Minnetonka Blvd. and Highway 100) was moved to this location to save it from road construction
  • Accessibility from Southwest Regional Trail is currently unavailable due to Light Rail construction (estimated 2025 completion, construction updates)
Historical info
  • One of seven original Lilac Way parks
  • Designed by Arthur Nichols, Landscape Architect
  • Hand-built by unemployed men during Great Depression as part of one of Minnesota’s largest Works Progress Administration federal relief projects, 1934-1941
  • Significant in the state’s history of transportation
  • Determined ineligible for National Register status
Lilac Park, 10 years restored
Lilac Park restoration process
Moving a historic beehive fireplace

What did the WPA build in this Lilac Way park in 1938-39?

Lilac Park, restored, 2009. Council ring.
Council Ring
  • Located near center of picnic area
  • Built of tan, coursed ashlar, roughly cut limestone
  • About 20′ in diameter
  • 18″ thick walls
  • Fire ring in center (about 5′ in diameter)
  • Pedestrian opening on the southwestern side
  • Was in poor condition before restoration
Lilac Park, restored, 2009. Limestone picnic table.
Stone picnic tables
  • Original site may have had five stone picnic tables
  • Four stone picnic tables remained in 1997
    • Each set sits on a rectangle of flagstone
  • Built of tan, roughly cut limestone, most of which is coursed
  • Stones were carefully chosen and cut by hand
  • Two tables have nearly square tops (about 3.75′ by 4.5′)
    • These tables each have four stone benches supported by two limestone block-like pedestals
  • Two tables have 3′ by 5′ rectangular tops
    • These tables each have two 4′-long benches supported by three block-like limestone pedestals
  • Tabletops and seats are simple slabs with rock faced edges
  • Tops are supported by trestle-like bases
  • All of the picnic table sets were in fair condition before restoration
  • One of the square sets was missing a bench before restoration
  • The picnic table from the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard was moved to this park, then restored
Lilac Park, renewed, May 2019. Circular drive with 100-ft. blooming lilacs hedge, planted in 2008 by City of SLP.
Circular drive
  • Asphalt-paved drive enters park from the east
  • Circles through the park, creating an oval island in the center
  • Now closed to vehicles, was originally used by cars
  • Is a 9′-wide asphalt-paved footpath used for pedestrians and bikes from Southwest Regional Trail
  • Vehicles park at the parking area near east edge of park
Stone fireplace, rectangular (not beehive-shaped)
  • Located north of council ring
  • Only lower courses of stones remained
  • Built of tan, random ashlar, roughly cut limestone
  • Rectangular structure measured 5′ by 9′ at base
Stone refuse container
  • Near southeasts corner of picnic area
  • Square shaped, apparently designed to hold a metal can or drum for refuse
  • Built of tan, roughly cut, random ashlar (with some rubble) limestone
  • Was 5′ square, 4′ tall, with 8″ thick walls
  • Was in fair condition before restoration
A well, probably a hand pump
  • Had been removed before 1997

Watch the video of moving the beehive fireplace from Minnetonka Boulevard to Highway 7. After arriving at the new Lilac Park (formerly St. Louis Park Roadside Parking Area), it was restored. Now, it’s a part of history.

The information signage for restored Lilac Park was designed by  Laukkonen Design. Photo gallery

Read MnDOT’s 1964 Wayside Rest Area Inventory (JPG) for Lilac Park (formerly St. Louis Park Roadside Park).

Read MnDOT’s 1997 Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventories (PDF) for Lilac Park (formerly St. Louis Park Roadside Park).