Restore Lilac Way

Building a community to preserve history and support restoration of historical Lilac Way since 2008.

The Restore Lilac Way website is a civic project conceived, researched, written, designed and maintained pro bono by Karen Laukkonen.

First launched in 2008, its mission is to document the history and seven parks, support restoration and preservation and encourage community enjoyment.

What is Lilac Way?

Lilac Way was a 12.5 mile ‘showcase’ section of Highway 100 in Minneapolis. Built in in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the seven roadside parks had quirky beehive-shaped fireplaces and big Fred Flintstone-like stone picnic tables. It was one of the biggest WPA project in the Minnesota.

With more than 75 pages, nearly 60 photo albums, plus tons of history, maps and videos, brings history to life. Designed and edited for smooth readability on every device, visitors can quickly learn about this project built during the Great Depression.

Partnered with an 1,100 follower Facebook page and social media, it has become the cornerstone of efforts to restore and maintain the Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, MN and Rock Island Park in St. Louis Park, MN.

Creative and technology services included:

  • Research, fact-checking, writing, editing and proofing
  • Wireframe and sitemap to define and organize content
  • Website design
  • WordPress content management / website populating
  • Project management
  • Image creation with retouching
  • Coordination with developer through site launch
  • Presentations to communities to raise public awareness
  • Presentations to key decision-makers to encourage restoration efforts
  • Ongoing updating of website site to include progress and news

FEATURE  Responsive website design for all devices

The Restore Lilac Way website resizes its elements, adapting to desktop or mobile devices for a great experience. It’s easy to read and navigate and shows up higher than competitors’ “desk-top only” websites in Google searches.

FEATURE  Branding inspired by history

With design inspired by WPA posters of the 1930s, this new website builds on a long-term brand first created for the 2007 Restore Lilac Way website.

FEATURE  More than 80 years of photos to browse

From black and white photos of men digging Highway 100 by hand in the mid-1930s, to MnDOT’s 1940 park photos to current photos of park deterioration and restoration efforts, these 40 photos albums document an amazing story.

FEATURE  Rollover map shows locations of existing and lost parks

Five of Lilac Way’s seven original 1939 parks have been lost to road construction. When a visitor rolls over a gold map pin, a popup window provides a profile of a Lilac Way park, shows them a photo and links them to a page for more information.

FEATURE  Using words and images to help a cause

Keen writing and dramatic photos stress the importance of saving one of only two 1939 beehive-shaped fireplaces left in the U.S. Combined with a growing Facebook page, efforts are coming together to save this piece of history.

FEATURE  Continuing a strong Lilac Way brand in signage

After seeing the original 2007 Restore Lilac Way website, the City of St. Louis Park hired Laukkonen Design to design informational graphics for the restored Lilac Park in 2009. The new website proposes installation of signage on Highway 100 and in Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, MN.