PortlandNeighborhood.com

Welcome to YOUR Portland Neighborhood Community

Portland's Mill Ends Park: World's Smallest

A fairly well-known bit of Portland trivia, is that Portland's Forest Park is the largest urban forest in the United States.  A lesser-known fact is that Portland is also home to the world's smallest park - according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Mill Ends Park is located in downtown Portland, right in the middle of Naito Parkway.  Most drivers and passers-by probably don't even notice the park as they go by, especially with the much larger Waterfront Park along the east side of the busy thoroughfare.  That's completely understandable, when you know that Mill Ends Park takes up roughly the same space as the base of a telephone pole.  In fact, that's exactly how the park came to be.

 

From Portland Parks & Recreation:

"In 1946, Dick Fagan returned from World War II to resume his journalistic career with the Oregon Journal. His office, on the second floor above Front Street (now Naito Parkway), gave him a view of not only the busy street, but also an unused hole in the median where a light pole was to be placed. When no pole arrived to fill in this hole, weeds took over the space. Fagan decided to take matters into his own hands and to plant flowers.

 

Fagan wrote a popular column called Mill Ends (rough, irregular pieces of lumber left over at lumber mills). He used this column to describe the park and the various "events" that occurred there. Fagan billed the space as the "World's Smallest Park." The park was dedicated on St. Patrick's Day in 1948 since Fagan was a good Irishman. He continued to write about activities in the park until he died in 1969. Many of his columns described the lives of a group of leprechauns, who established the "only leprechaun colony west of Ireland" in the park. Fagan claimed to be the only person who could see the head leprechaun, Patrick O'Toole. After Mill Ends officially became a city park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976, the park continued to be the site of St. Patrick's Day festivities.

 

Over the years, contributions have been made to the park, such as the small swimming pool and diving board for butterflies, many statues, a miniature Ferris wheel (which was brought in by a normal-sized crane), and the occasional flying saucer. The events held here include concerts by Clan Macleay Pipe Band, picnics, and rose plantings by the Junior Rose Festival Court.

 

The park had to be moved temporarily in 2006 due to construction on Naito Parkway. It was replaced on March 16, 2007 in true St. Patrick's Day style with the Royal Rosarians, bagpipers, and the Fagan family, including Dick's wife Katherine, in attendance."

I visited the park recently, and snapped a couple photos.  The traffic was whizzing by, but the park was quiet.  In the lull after St. Patrick's Day, there was no sign of Peter O'Toole or any of the other leprechauns.

 

Oregon's capitol city, Salem, also claims to have the world's smallest city park.  But at 12 feet by 20 feet, Waldo Park could hold many Mill Ends Parks.   

 

There is a sign on the west side of Naito Parkway (at the corner of SW Taylor) that marks Mill Ends Park and provides a version of the information above.  While there are no trails in the park, the next time you're strolling, biking or skating through Waterfront Park, you should stop by to see what O'Toole and his clan are up to.

 

 

View Map

Views: 32

Tags: OR, Oregon, Portland, animals, nature, outdoors, parks, plants

Comment

You need to be a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com to add comments!

Join PortlandNeighborhood.com

Latest Activity

Ross and Leah Seligman's discussion was featured

The Best Deals in Portland This Week: April 21st - April 28th

The Best Deals in Portland This Week: April 21st - April 28th1. 2945 NE 25TH AVE Portland, OR 97212-IRVINGTON-$850,000Click The Image To See The Full Listing2. 2532 NE 49TH AVE Portland, OR 97213-ROSE CITY PARK-$749,000Click The Image To See The Full Listing3. 1635 SE 57TH AVE Portland, OR 97215-MT.TABOR-$650,000…See More
2 hours ago
Ross and Leah Seligman posted a discussion

The Best Deals in Portland This Week: April 21st - April 28th

The Best Deals in Portland This Week: April 21st - April 28th1. 2945 NE 25TH AVE Portland, OR 97212-IRVINGTON-$850,000Click The Image To See The Full Listing2. 2532 NE 49TH AVE Portland, OR 97213-ROSE CITY PARK-$749,000Click The Image To See The Full Listing3. 1635 SE 57TH AVE Portland, OR 97215-MT.TABOR-$650,000…See More
2 hours ago
Michael Barton posted photos
4 hours ago
Alan Berry is now a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com
18 hours ago
Brian Rohr updated an event
Thumbnail

Calling Forth the Mythic Fire: An Evening of Wild Storytelling at Hipbone Studio

May 17, 2014 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm
$17 advance through Brown Paper Tickets; $20 at the door.  Purchase Tickets HereCalling Forth the Mythic Fire: An Evening of Wild StorytellingSaturday, May 17th – 7:30pm Hipbone Studio: 1847 E. Burnside, #104, Portland, Or 97214"Grandfather Fire is the carrier of all the stories”Please join Mythteller Brian Rohr as we engage in one of the oldest acts known to humans: listening to the old stories as a community…See More
yesterday
Brewvana -Portland Brewery Tours posted an event
Thumbnail

2nd Annual Drink Drink Putt 9-Hole Mini Golf Tourney at 9 locations throughout Portland

May 17, 2014 from 11am to 7pm
BREWVANA is combining the fun of mini golf with delicious beer in their 2nd Annual Drink Drink Putt 9-Hole Mini Golf Tourney. 36 teams of four will play the course beginning with a shotgun start at 11 am. The nine locations will each be constructing their own hole and will have beer on hand for thirsty players. Transportation between various locations will be provided to participants by BREWVANA and their transportation partner PDX Pedicab.A Grand Prize will be awarded to the team with the…See More
yesterday
Children's Book Bank updated an event
Thumbnail

The Helio Sequence at The Old Church

May 10, 2014 from 7pm to 10pm
Portland's own The Helio Sequence, comprised of vocalist/guitarist Brandon Summers and keyboardist/drummer Benjamin Weikel, performing together since 1999, will be here to raise money for local non-profit The Children's Book Bank. All ticket proceeds go to The Children's Book Bank's local effort to surround children in need with a variety of books they get to take home and keep! There will be a silent auction, light refreshments, dessert, and a bar. Over 21 only. Doors open at 7:00 pm.Click on…See More
Saturday
World Forestry Center posted an event

Museum by Moonlight "The Art of Dr. Seuss" Opening Reception at World Forestry Center

May 22, 2014 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Join the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum for a sneak preview of "The Art of Dr. Seuss"exhibit before it opens to the public at Museum by Moonlight on Thursday, May 22. This rare glimpse into the artistic life of Theodor Seuss Geisel features rare and never-before-seen works from the 1920's to 1990's.The first 150 Museum by Moonlight attendees will receive a free exhibition catalog and all attendees will be entered to win a framed limited edition print by Dr. Seuss from the Shaffer Fine…See More
Thursday

Badge

Loading…

Powell's Books Picks

Flash Boys

by Michael Lewis

A Call to Action

by Jimmy Carter

Bark

by Lorrie Moore

Eleanor and Park

by Rainbow Rowell

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

by Laini Taylor

© 2014   Created by Lorri E..

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service