There were seven Lilac Way roadside parks in 1939.

Today, only two remain. Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park) has been carefully restored.

Now, Graeser Park needs to be restored.

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Lilac Way parks were revolutionary.

Families pulled their car off Highway 100, into a roadside park. They grilled hot dogs in the beehive fireplaces, relaxed at a picnic table and enjoyed a rock garden or reflecting pool.

Park structures were handmade from limestone, quarried from the Minnesota River near the Mendota Bridge.

Two surviving parks

RESTORED: Lilac Park (originally named St. Louis Park Roadside Park)
  • Location: Southeast corner of Highway 100 & Highway 7/County Road 25 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Renamed Lilac Park in 2009 after beehive and picnic tables were moved from original Lilac Park to this park to save from road construction
  • Carefully restored and renovated, 2007-2009
  • Inventory completed for MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’
NEEDS RESTORING: Graeser Park
  • Location: Northwest corner of Highway 100 and County Road 81 in Robbinsdale, MN
  • Needs to be saved, restored and renovated
  • Lovingly maintained by a group of volunteers
  • City of Robbinsdale is hoping for ownership transfer from MnDOT
  • Inventory completed for MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’
  • Includes both north and south sections

Five parks lost to road construction

LOST: Blazer Park
  • Location: West side of Highway 100 between Highway 55 and Lilac Way Drive North in Golden Valley, Minnesota
  • Inventory completed for MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’
  • MnDOT’s other name for this park Golden Valley Roadside Parking Area
  • Property determined ineligible for National Historical Register in August 2006
  • Razed for 2001 Highway 100 reconstruction project
LOST: Excelsior Boulevard Roadside Parking Area
  • Location: Highway 100 at Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Not much is known about this park
  • Photos taken in 1953 show a large park with a beehive grill
  • Listed in MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’ as one of ‘at least two other parks along Highway 100 that had been demolished’ before the inventory
  • Razed for Highway 100 reconstruction, 1969
LOST: Glenwood Avenue Roadside Parking Area
  • Location: Highway 100 at Glenwood Avenue in Golden Valley, Minnesota
  • Listed in MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’ as one of ‘at least two other parks along Highway 100 that had been demolished’ before inventory
  • Razed for road reconstruction in 1959
LOST: Lilac Park, original
  • Location: Northeast corner of Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard in St Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Included in MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’
  • Property determined ineligible for National Historical Register in August 2006
  • Beehive fireplace and a picnic table were relocated and restored at the new and restored Lilac Park (formerly Roadside Park) at Highway 100 & Highway 7/County Road 25
  • Some minor structures remain in an area called ‘Monkey Island’ as of 2018
  • Most of park was razed for 2001 Highway 100 reconstruction project
LOST: Graeser Park South
  • Location: Northwest side of Highway 100 just south of Broadway Avenue and Burlington Northern Railroad in Robbinsdale, Minnesota
  • Inventory completed for MnDOT’s 1997 Lilac Way ‘Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory’
  • Property determined ineligible for National Historical Register in August 2006
  • Razed for 2001 Highway 100 reconstruction

Scroll through photos of Lilac Way parks in 1939