Assessment + Analysis
Besides the highway, workers built seven parks with rustic entrance signs, stone overlooks, picnic areas, and even ornamental pools and rock gardens. Arthur Nichols designed the parks and landscaping along the "Lilac Way," as the original portion of Highway 100 was called. Lilac Way was one of the Roadside Development Division's largest, best-publicized, and most visible projects.
In a previous Mn/DOT study, historian Barbara J. Henning noted that the landscaping of Highway 100 was extraordinary in scope. In the St. Louis Park segment there were 12 types of evergreen trees, totaling 420 plants, and 37 varieties of deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines. The total number of deciduous plants came to 23,505. The largest units were American elm (1,890), sumac (9,478), three kinds of spirea (2,199), Persian lilac (2,487), and common lilac (5,408). The lilac bushes were an exception to the Roadside Development Division's general policy of not planting flowers or flowering shrubs along highways.
Lilac Way was the only property in the roadside development study that was classified as a historic district. The district included a portion of the highway and the five surviving parks. Lilac Way was considered important as a rare and especially large federal relief project, for its significance in the history of transportation and roadside development, and for its design significance. The district was also significant in the history of suburban development and regional transportation in the Twin Cities. Highway 100 is being reconstructed and is no longer completely intact.