A rare 1939 restored beehive fireplace is the heart of this Lilac Way park.

Lilac Park is again part of history. It was beautifully renovated in 2009, celebrating Lilac Way’s 70th Anniversary.

Visit the beehive at Highway 100 and County Road 25/Highway 7, just west of Nordic Ware in St. Louis Park, MN.

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VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUMS

BEFORE

AFTER

These partners funded this $225,000 historical project:

City of St. Louis Park
Nordic Ware
St. Louis Park Historical Society
Donations to the ‘Save the Beehive’ Fund

How it was restored

Lilac Park required true artisans to bring it back to life. It took two years of planning, a year of restoration and a team of dedicated workers.

Formerly known as St. Louis Park Roadside Park, it is located at the southeast corner of Highway 100 & Highway 7/County Road 25 in St. Louis Park, MN. Map

The beehive fireplace was moved from the original Lilac Park. After restoration, this park’s name was changed to Lilac Park, to honor a lost park.

When completed, the team had

  • moved beehive fireplace and limestone picnic table from original Lilac Park at Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard on Oct. 22, 2008, to this park for restoration
  • restored historically significant structures
  • added new features
  • installed new trail connection to Southwest Regional Trail
  • replaced landscaping, inspired by the original 1939 plan
  • cleaned and restored limestone tables
  • built limestone patterned cement concrete bases for restored tables
  • resurfaced circular internal biking/walking trail (formerly a roadway)
  • implemented interpretive park and trail signage, designed by Laukkonen Design
  • provided a lasting legacy honoring MnDOT and the Minnesotans in the WPA
Lilac Park, 10 Years Restored
Restoration process photo album
Grand Opening 2009 photo album

This renovation was made possible with the dedication of these generous partners:

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City of St. Louis Park

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St. Louis Park Historical Society

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Wayside Park / Beehive Restoration Committee

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MN Department of Transportation

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Nordic Ware

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Concrete Etc.

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Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority

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Laukkonen Design

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MN Department of Natural Resources

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MN Historical Society

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MN State Historic Preservation Office

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Otting House Movers

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Three Rivers Park District

Meet the true heroes behind this park’s restoration.

  • RICK BIRNO, Park Superintendent, wrote the proposal, got funding from the City, worked closely with MnDOT, hired the contractors, and planned the Grand Opening
  • JIM VAUGHAN, City Staff – Parks and Recreation
  • KATHY JOHNSON, JEANNE ANDERSEN, BOB JORVIG, BOB and BARBARA REISS of the St. Louis Park Historical Society
  • BRUCE CORNWALL, Resident/Park Commissioner
  • BETTE DANIELSON, Nordic Ware
  • MIKE McGARVEY, Resident/Landscape Architect
  • CHRIS REISS, Resident/Rotary Club
  • ELIZABETH WALTON, Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • ADAM FULTON, MEG McMONIGAL and SEAN WALTHER, City Staff – Planning
  • BILL THURSTON AND CITY STAFF – Engineering

Jim Vaughan, St. Louis Park’s Natural Resources Coordinator

“We added many purple and white Common Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) along the Park’s west edge to mimic the original plan. We also added many diverse trees that were not present in the late 1930s to add more interest and ecosystems for local folks and fauna.

Many mature Green Ash trees on site were probably planted 40-50 years ago. We attempted to preserve them during reconstruction, for the benefits the trees provide to the site. New landscaping was implemented along Highway 100 in Fall 2018. Many lilacs were planted along with other, mostly native, trees and shrubs.”

More resources

Karen at Laukkonen Design designed the graphics for the large system kiosk and smaller trail signage for Lilac Park.

Watch the beehive fireplace move from the old Lilac Park at Minnetonka Blvd. to the new Lilac Park on Highway 7. According to the SLPHS: In mid-September 2008, Otting Movers dug up the structure and put it on a trailer. On October 22, the beehive was towed down Minnetonka Blvd. to Ottawa, down Ottawa across Highway 7, and down the service road that serves Nordic Ware to Roadside Park. Thanks to the expertise of the movers, the structure survived the move in perfect condition. Afterwards, the Ottings exclaimed: “That’s the smallest building we’ve ever moved!”