View TPT documentary on Lilac Way
If you didn't have the good fortune to be in Minnesota in May, you missed a lovely lilac season. Even the few lilac bushes along Highway 100 provided beautiful blossoms and scent.
This year's display provided a small glimpse of what the roadway looked like in the 1930s when community groups planted more than 7,000 lilacs along Highway 100, nicknamed "Lilac Way" by the Minneapolis Tribune.
Highway 100 construction began in 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression. The WPA project put hundreds of men to work. They dug the road mainly by hand, instead of machinery, to keep workers employed as long as possible. The government program also employed stone masons, who created roadside parks with beehive-shaped barbecues, stone picnic tables, waterfalls and other features.
Roadway expansion took over the park-like road right of ways. However, during the past few years, some community groups began working to restore Lilac Way. Check out the Restore Lilac Way Campaign and the St. Louis Park Historical Society web sites for some great photos, video, articles and other links.
You can view an interesting documentary about this chapter in the roadway's history at Twin Cities public television (TPT) web site.
Sunday drives and roadside picnicking might be a thing of the past, but this summer take a short drive (before or after rush hour traffic) to see one of the original beehives, which was moved to Lilac Park at Highway 100 and Highway 5 to save it from demolition.
I started every letter to my grandmother the same way when I was a kid: "How are you? I am fine. We are all fine. I'm sorry I haven't written sooner."
Same message, different year. We are all fine. I haven't written in a while - at least in this blog. Instead, I have spent the last month writing our quarterly newsletter for members, working on our grand opening of our newest exhibit "Edina's Greatest Generation: On the Home Front and the Front Lines" and writing monthly feature stories for Edina Magazine.
We have had a busy month, with lots of visitors every museum day. I've had the pleasure of meeting many World War II veterans this month, who answered my request to bring in photos and artifacts for the exhibit. And we had a great turnout for the grand opening party on May 20, with more than 150 people attending.
When I say "we" I don't mean the royal we. I do mean volunteers and board members as well, who helped with the exhibit and event preparation. They scanned photos, cut text panels, talked to veterans, hung pictures, bought refreshments, picked up donations and much more.
As busy as I was, I have had more hectic exhibit openings. Thanks to Vince Cockriel, who created the exhibit with his extensive military collection, my job was much easier. He did a great job and I invite you all to come and visit. The exhibit will continue at least through October. We have another event scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14; popular speaker Michael Hansen will present a program "Horror at Huertgen" at 7 p.m.
I will close this entry the same way I closed all my letters: "Write back soon!" I do appreciate reader comments and emails... keep them coming!
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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