Kristi Gibson of the Robbinsdale Historical Society transcribed an original hard-to-read 1938 Minneapolis Journal article, and even recreated the layout.
Now you can browse or search the story in easy-to-read, mobile-friendly text. Scroll down to see her replication of the article as it appeared in the newspaper.
Thanks for preserving this piece of Lilac Way history, Kristi! March 2021
Minneapolis Journal | Sunday, January 30, 1938
Lilac Way Here Soon
Scenic Highway to West of City, Part of Projected Belt Line Road, Due to Be Ready for Motorists Next Spring
Minneapolis’ “Lilac Way” will be completed in the spring as part of a belt line road which eventually will encircle the Twin Cities. Only two bridges remain to be built before the highway will be entirely opened for traffic.
More than six years after the project was started, N. W. Elsberg, state highway engineer, announced the road from Fort Snelling-Shakopee highway on the south to Robbinsdale on the north will be finished by late spring, except for surfacing, improvements and one contemplated clover leaf road separation.
“The highway will combine all known safety and engineering devices,” he said, “and will allow unobstructed flow of traffic for 12 miles. Not only will the new highway be safer, but it will be one of the most beautiful in the world.”
All main portions of the road have been cut through except at highway No. 7 (the new Excelsior boulevard) and Minnetonka boulevard, C. F. Graeser, project engineer, explained. Contracts for bridges at both points will be let in the spring, he said, and an early completion of the project is expected.
“The clover leaf intersection at Highway No. 7 has been laid out,” Mr. Graeser said, “and after the bridge has been completed little work will remain before the intersection will be open for traffic. Cutoffs will reroute traffic while work is in progress.”
Three hundred feet wide, the highway, to be known as trunk highway No. 100, will have six lanes for automobile traffic and a neutral zone created by a 30-foot center aisle. Traffic in each direction will be “one way,” with the center aisle forming a safety zone. An eight-foot sidewalk for pedestrians will border the highway.
No left turns will be allowed on the highway at any point, but overhead, underpass, ramp and clover leaf connections at points where the belt line crosses heavily traveled highways will allow motorists to proceed in any direction and remove intersectional dangers.
Nine bridges already have been built on the west section of the belt line, providing 14 entries into the city. When completed, the highway will encircle the Twin Cities, giving direct routes to any section of Minneapolis and St. Paul and their suburbs. It will serve approximately one-third of the state’s population and an area of 2,500 square miles.
Through traffic from all sections of the state no longer will burden congested districts in the loop and other densely populated areas. Following the belt line, motorists who desire may circle the Twin Cities to their destinations. It also will give drivers in the city quick access to state highways by means of many roads leading directly to the belt line.
From its junction with Fort Snelling-Shakopee road, the belt line continues north across Minnehaha creek on an ornamental concrete bridge 60 feet wide. A second bridge of the same type has been constructed over Forty-fourth street and the Minneapolis Street Railway tracks. Entrance into the city may be made at both points.
Continuing north, the belt line intersects old Excelsior boulevard. A center aisle grade separation has been constructed to provide one-way channels in all directions without a stop. A neutral zone is created by a 30-foot center lane for left hand turns.
Following a northeasterly direction, the road crosses Highland avenue (now Thirty-sixth street, St. Louis Park) and passes under the Milwaukee and Minneapolis and St. Louis railroad tracks.
At highway No. 7 traffic will be separated by a clover leaf connection now under construction. When completed, the clover leaf will provide paved highways in all directions without left hand turns. Highway No. 7 passes over the belt line.
Proceeding north under Minnetonka boulevard, where a 90-foot bridge with a center pier and two 30-foot driveways will be completed by June 1, the highway provides two additional entries to Minneapolis. Four ramps lead from the belt line to the boulevard for easy maneuvering without left-hand turns. The second route is on Twenty-eighth street.
Crossing Twenty-eighth street, the highway passes over the Great Northern railroad tracks west of the freight yards by a 240-foot concrete and steel bridge. A six-lane bridge crosses Cedar Lake road, with a connecting ramp for turning off to Minneapolis.
Past Douglas Avenue, another entry into the city, the belt line passes under Wayzata boulevard by a second clover leaf separation, already constructed and open to traffic. Continuing north the highway crosses Glenwood avenue and the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railroad tracks on an ornamental concrete bridge 123 feet long.
The third clover leaf intersection will be constructed at Sixth avenue N. The highway passes over the Luce Line and Minnesota Western tracks on a 135-foot timber bridge to Nineteenth avenue N. Entry into the city may be made at this point or farther north at Medicine Lake road.
The Bassett’s creek crossing is over an ornamental concrete bridge 110 feet wide and 20 feet long. The road continues to Thirty-sixth avenue N.., Robbinsdale, where the western boundary ends.
Beautifying of the highway is expected to be completed by late summer, highway officials said. More than 7.000 bushes of 12 varieties of lilacs and thousands of vines and trees already have been planted.
Varieties planted include honeysuckle, matrimony vine, anthony vine, roses, dogwood, wild sumac, bridal wreath, elm, ash, cedar, spruce and juniper. Only 6 per cent of all trees were lost in transplanting.
Cost of the project is estimated at nearly $2,000,000, with funds furnished by county, state and federal governments. Much of the work on the western boundary of the belt line was completed in the past two years with SEPA and WPA funds.
In the future highway officials predict when funds will be available, the belt line will be continued north to Thirty-ninth avenue, east across Rockford road, under the Great Northern railroad tracks by way of Forty-fourth street, Robbinsdale, and connected with Highway No. 10.
Also contemplated is a connection with Larpenteur avenue, St. Paul, to form the connecting link of the belt line encircling the Twin Cities. Much of the St. Paul belt line has not been completed.