Discover the story of Lilac Way.

The history of Lilac Way in Minneapolis included beehive-shaped fireplaces, seven parks, the Great Depression, a garden club, and thousands of lilacs.

It was a herculean effort, that we treasure almost 80 years later.

lilacway-lilac-iconWhat was Lilac Way?

Built in the late 1930’s, Lilac Way was a 12.5 mile stretch of Highway 100 between Highway 52 (now 81) in Robbinsdale, and Highway 5 (78th Street) in Edina.

lilacway-lilac-iconWhy was Highway 100 called Lilac Way?

Inspired by the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., in 1935 a local newspaper encouraged the MN Highway Department to plant lilacs along the new Highway 100. They agreed, and a garden club helped raise money.

Beehive Fireplaces
Roadside Parks
Restored Lilac Park
MnDOT’s Commitment

Where were the seven Lilac Way parks located on Highway 100?

If you grew up in the area, you probably remember the roadside parks with ‘Fred Flintstone’-style picnic tables. The barbecue fireplaces had rounded tops, and were nicknamed ‘The Beehives.”

Only two of the seven parks remain today. Sadly, the other five parks were razed for Highway 100 reconstruction.

Check out the map to see their locations and get more info.

Join the groundswell to save and restore Graeser Park.

One of only two beehive fireplaces left in the U.S. is located in Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

Hand-built in 1939 by unemployed stonemasons as part of Lilac Way, this rare and historical beehive fireplace desperately needs to be preserved.

St. Louis Park, Minnesota has restored the other beehive, now in Lilac Park.

Lilac Way Parks, 1939-1941

  • Graeser Park, 1940. Beehive fireplace (upper left), rock garden. Photo: MN Historical Society

  • Graeser Park, 1940. Beehive fireplace (left center), and 10-11 picnic tables. Photo: MN Historical Society.

  • Graeser Park, 1940. Stone stairway leading from Broadway Avenue down into Graeser Park. Photo: MN Historical Society.

  • Blazer Park, 1939. Waterfall. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Blazer Park, 1939. Tapered fireplace. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Blazer Park, 1939. Tapered fireplace. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Blazer Park, 1939. Council ring. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Blazer Park, 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Signpost at Blazer Park on Lilac Way, black and white photo

    Blazer Park, 1939. Entrance sign. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Excelsior Blvd. Park, 1939. Picnic table. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Beehive fireplace in Excelsior Boulevard Roadside Parking Area, Lilac Way

    Excelsior Blvd. Park, 1939. Beehive fireplace. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Excelsior Blvd. Park, 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Excelsior Boulevard Roadside Parking Area, 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Excelsior Blvd. Park, 1939. Parking structure. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Glenwood Avenue Roadside Parking Area, 1939.

  • Glenwood Avenue Roadside Parking Area, 1939. Firepit. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Beehive fireplace. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Limestone picnic table. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Northern rock garden, oval pool. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1940. Photo: MN Historical Society.

  • Lilac Park (original at Minnetonka Blvd.), 1941. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park, original (Minnetonka Blvd.), 1941. Beehive fireplace and picnic tables. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park, original (Minnetonka Blvd.), 1939. Beehive fireplace, rock garden pool and island. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Northern rock garden, oval pool. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1941. Photo: MnDOT.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd. 1939. Photo: MnDOT.