· Robbinsdale’s Graeser Park was built in 1940-41 at the intersection of the new Highway 100 and the old Jefferson Highway (now West Broadway). Highway 52 (now Bottineau Boulevard) was just to the east.
· Highway 100 was also called the “Belt Line” and “Lilac Way.” Thousands of lilacs were planted along the highway while it was being built.
· Today, portions of the highway’s service roads are still called Lilac Way or Lilac Drive.
· The park was named for highway engineer Carl F. Graeser, the “father of the belt line,” and designed in the rustic style by noted landscape architect Arthur A. Nichols.
· Of the seven Lilac Way parks, Graeser was the last to be built, the largest, and the most elaborate. Four of the original parks were lost to highway reconstruction.
· Many of the Graeser Park’s historic elements are still intact after 80+ years.
· Graeser Park’s iconic beehive fireplace is one of only two fireplaces ever built in this design, and the only one in the US still standing in its original location. (The City of St. Louis Park rescued its beehive and carefully moved it to a new location along Highway 100 in 2008.)
· In 2020, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) began a preservation project to repair/stabilize several of Graeser Park’s original stone features.
· MnDOT reconstructed a stone picnic table near the rock garden in summer 2021 using salvaged stone. Plans call for at least two more tables to be rebuilt in 2021-22.
We are an all volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2018 to raise awareness and funds to help return the park to its rightful place of local, statewide, and national significance.