Mill Ends: The Smallest Park In The World

Mill Ends Park is a Portland landmark and a must to visit, no matter if you're a local or visitor.  

Acknowledged by The Guinness Book of World Records as the Smallest Park in the World, Mill Ends has a whimsical history and a peculiar location. A spin around the park will only take approximately 1 minute, so just do it!

Mill Ends Park

On the west side of the river nestled between opposing traffic lanes, flanked by two posts on Naito Parkway at Taylor St., is Mill Ends Park. 899 SW Naito Parkway.

Roughly 2 feet in diameter, the smallest park in the world is the quirky and nationally famous park created by newspaperman Dick Fagan, back in 1946. From Fagan's office window at the Oregon Journal newspaper, Fagan had a view of a hole in the street where a lamp post was supposed to be installed. When the lamp post failed to be installed Fagan decided to beautify his office window view. He filled the hole in with dirt and planted flowers.

Mill Ends Park 2

As a journalist, and an Irishman with a colorful imagination, Fagan began incorporating the park in his column, Mill Ends (rough, irregular pieces of lumber left over at lumber mills). He wrote tales about a village of leprechauns who inhabited the park and announced park events like, snail races! Fagan proclaimed the park the “World’s Smallest Park” and it was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948. Officially Mill Ends became a city park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976. And in 1971 Guinness proclaimed Mill Ends Park the world’s smallest park.

Depending on the season, and the creativity of the people who visit the park, a plethora of foliage, animals ( horses, unicorns, turtles) and design elements (swimming pools, ferris wheels, fences, benches) and even a UFO sighting has been documented at this tiny park. Even ‘big people’ have been seen taking their lives in their hands ( it does sit between two highly trafficked lanes on Naito) catching some rays, reading a book, celebrating during the wee hours of the morning, and one yelper had this to say about the park: “I almost want my boyfriend to propose in this park just to say it happened…”

Mill Ends Park 3

To this day the park, and the area along Naito Parkway, continues to host one of Portland’s largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations—the Shamrock Run. A plaque that briefly details the history of the park is located on the sidewalk intersection of Taylor St. and Naito Parkway.

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