LOST: The original Lilac Park, after the beehive was saved and relocated.

The beehive fireplace and picnic tables were built in 1939, located at Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

In 2008, they were saved, and moved to another park a few blocks south on Highway 100 and Highway 7. That park was restored, and renamed Lilac Park.

The National Park Service and MnDOT can document only two beehive-shaped fireplaces left in the U.S. This beehive was moved, and restored to its original beauty.

The other beehive, in Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, is just waiting to be restored.

This website was created to promote the restoration of the other beehive fireplace, located in Graeser Park.

Lilac Park, original (Minnetonka Blvd.), 1939. Beehive fireplace, rock garden pool and island. Photo: MnDOT.
Lilac Park, original (Minnetonka Blvd.), 1941. Beehive fireplace and picnic tables. Photo: MnDOT.

What was ‘Monkey Island’?

The Rock Garden on this park’s north end is known as ‘Monkey Island’. The oval pool, limestone island, 10′ footbridge, steps and bench still exist today.

In July 2009, a crew cut down all the trees that hid the Rock Garden, making it visible to traffic on Highway 100.

Lilac Park, original (Minnetonka Blvd.), 1939. Rock garden pool and island. Photo: MnDOT.
Facts about original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard
  • Called Lilac Park, also known as Minnetonka Boulevard Roadside Parking Area
  • Located on northeast corner of Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
  • Built 1938-39
  • Mostly rased as part of Highway 100 reconstruction
  • The area of the park known as ‘Monkey Island’ still has some parts remaining
  • Original beehive fireplace and some picnic tables were moved to Lilac Park in 2008, then restored
Historical info
  • One of seven original Lilac Way parks
  • Designed by Arthur Nichols, Landscape Architect
  • Built by Works Progress Administration (WPA) as part of one of Minnesota’s largest federal relief projects, 1934-1941
  • Hand-built by unemployed men during Great Depression
  • Significant in the state’s history of transportation
  • Determined ineligible for National Register status

Scroll through photos of this park in 2007-08.

  • Limestone walkway at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Pool, curved paths, 10'-long footbridge. AKA Monkey Island.

  • Limestone beehive at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Beehive fireplace.

  • Limestone beehive closeup at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Beehive fireplace.

  • Limestone beehive closeup at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Beehive fireplace.

  • Limestone table at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Hand-built limestone picnic table.

  • Limestone table at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Hand-built limestone picnic table.

  • Limestone table at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Hand-built limestone picnic table with beehive.

  • Limestone beehive at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Beehive with Hwy 100 in background.

  • Limestone wall at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. 162'-ft long curved wall, N of park.

  • Limestone wall at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. 162'-ft long curved wall, N of park.

  • Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007.

  • Limestone steps at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. One of two entrance steps.

  • Limestone bench at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. L-shaped stone bench with a 2'-tall backrest.

  • Pond at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Oval pool lined with stones, curving paths are paved with flagstone. AKA Monkey Island.

  • Pond at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Oval pool lined with stones, encircled by flagstone path. AKA Monkey Island.

  • Limestone wall at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Oval pool lined with stones, curving paths are paved with flagstone

  • Limestone wall at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Limestone wall.

  • Limestone steps at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. One of two entrance steps.

  • Faucet at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Water pump.

  • Limestone bench at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. L-shaped stone bench with a 2'-tall backrest.

  • Stone walkway at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. 10'-long footbridge of two slabs of limestone on limestone piers, leads to island from E side.

  • Pond at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Oval pool lined with stones, curving paths are paved with flagstone. AKA Monkey Island.

  • Limestone bench at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    LilacPark_orig2007_1430

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. L-shaped stone bench with a 2'-tall backrest.

  • The original Lilac Park lawn on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007.

  • Highway entrance near the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007.

  • Four teanagers cleaning up the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park, MN

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Cleanup team.

  • Teanager cleaning up the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park, MN

    Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Cleanup team.

What did the WPA build in Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard in 1939?

Limestone beehive at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Beehive fireplace.
Beehive-shaped fireplace
  • Located at center of the picnic area
  • Built of tan, coursed ashlar, rockfaced limestone
  • Dark red mortar joints contrast with the light-colored stone
  • 23′ perimeter, 10′ tall, built on circular flagstone pad
  • Three rounded-arched fire opening, each firebox is lined with brick and has metal cooking grates
  • Between the openings are small limestone ledges
  • Moved to Lilac Park (formerly known as St. Louis Park Roadside Park) at Highway 100 and Highway 7/County Road 25, just west of Nordic Ware
Roadside Park, 2007. Now restored and renamed Lilac Park.
Stone picnic tables
  • Plans and historic photos show the park had eleven picnic tables
  • Each set sat on a flagstone pad
  • Three sets of stone picnic tables remained in 1997
    • One table south of fireplace had a 4′ by 5′ rectangular top
    • Table southwest of fireplace is in the shape of an elongated octagon (roughly 6′ by 5′)
    • Near the south end of picnic area was a table with 9′ by 3′ long, rectangular top
    • Tables were designed for stone benches that were supported by rockfaced limestone pedestals
    • Table tops and seats are simple slabs that have rockfaced edges
    • All picnic table sets were in poor condition in 1997, with stones missing, benches missing and broken, and flagstone pads breaking up
  • Tables and benches were built of tan, roughly-cut limestone, most of which is coursed
  • Stones were carefully chosen and cut
  • There were two picnic table styles
    • Square table top supported by cruciform shape
      • Had four benches
      • The seat of each was supported by two stone block pedestals
    • Rectangular table top, with two stone benches that were each supported by three stone blocks
      • Table tops and seats were simple slabs with rockfaced edges
Limestone wall at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. 162'-ft long curved wall, N of park.
Low stone wall
  • Located north of picnic area, near point where 29th Street meets Toledo Avenue
  • Buried deep within a group of lilac and buckthorn, not visible from roadway
  • 18″ thick
  • Built of tan, random ashlar, rockfaced limestone
  • 62′ long, curved shape, runs at angle along crest of hill
  • Wall is anchored with stone piers at ends and at two pedestrian openings
  • Was originally longer and lined with a short, curved pull-off drive (from Toledo Avene) that probably formed a parking area
  • Several feet of stonework from each end of wall were removed, and curved drive eliminated circa 1968 when an exit ramp from northbound Highway 100 was built through the site
Limestone walkway at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. Pool, curved paths, 10'-long footbridge. AKA Monkey Island.
Northern Rock Garden (also known as Monkey Island and Hidden Park) – pool, island and path
  • Near north end of site
  • Elaborate rock garden is almost hidden by overgrown brush
  • Built of tan, mortared limestone rubble
  • Oval-shaped pool lined with stones and encircled by a flagstone path near south end of garden
  • In the center is an island (about 18-20′ in diameter) ringed with tan limestone rubble
  • A willow tree grows out of island
  • A 10′-long footbridge, comprised of two slabs of limestone on limestone piers, leads to island from east side
  • At south end of pool is a waterfall made of mortared rocks
  • There are curving limestone steps climbing the back of the waterfall
  • The garden’s curving paths are paved with flagstone
  • The lower path encircling the pool is edged with low, stone retaining walls
  • Another path, which runs at a higher elevation along the eastern side of the garden, is lined with stones that are set so the triangular ends point upward
  • The garden is overgrown and surrounded by mature evergreens, deciduous trees, and deciduous shrubs
  • Was separated from the rest of the park circa 1968 by the exit ramp from northbound Highway 100 to Minnetonka Boulevard which cuts through the park near north end
  • Remains today, but in poor condition
Limestone steps at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. One of two entrance steps.
Northern Rock Garden (also known as Monkey Island and Hidden Park) – steps
  • Two sets of 5-6 stone steps lead down into rock garden from southeast and southwest corners
  • Side railings of small mortared rocks
  • Remains today, but in poor condition
Limestone bench at the original Lilac Park on Highway 100 and Minnetonka Boulevard
Lilac Park (original), Mtka. Blvd., 2007. L-shaped stone bench with a 2'-tall backrest.
Northern Rock Garden (also known as Monkey Island and Hidden Park) – bench
  • Small niche east of waterfall contains an L-shaped stone bench with a 2′-tall backrest
  • Remains today, but in poor condition

Read MnDOT’s 1997 Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory for the original Lilac Park on Minnetonka Boulevard.