Portland, OR: home of the world's smallest park!
by TATIANA WILLS
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Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon, is a small park that was created on St. Patrick's Day, 1948, to be a colony for leprechauns and a location for snail races. It is the smallest park in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, which first granted it this recognition in 1971. The park is a circle 2 ft across in a traffic median which in 1948 was intended to be the site for a light pole. When the pole failed to appear and weeds sprouted in the opening, Dick Fagan, a columnist for the Oregon Journal, planted flowers in the hole and named it after his column in the paper, "Mill Ends". Fagan's office in the Journal building overlooked the median.
He looked out the window and spotted a leprechaun digging in the hole. He ran down and grabbed the leprechaun, which meant that he had earned a wish. Fagan said he wished for a park of his own; but since he had not specified the size of the park in his wish, the leprechaun gave him the hole. Over the next two decades, Fagan often featured the park and its head leprechaun, named Patrick O'Toole, in his whimsical column.
Fagan died of cancer in 1969, but the park lived on, cared for by others. It was named an official city park in 1976. Mill Ends Park is located at SW Naito Parkway and SW Taylor in downtown Portland.
The small circle has featured many unusual items through the decades, including a swimming pool for butterflies—complete with diving board, a horseshoe, a fragment of the Journal building, and a miniature Ferris wheel which was delivered by a full size crane.