A Brief History of Mill Ends Park

Mills End Park is the smallest park in the world
Mills End Park is the smallest park in the world | © Craig Dietrich / Flickr

The smallest park in the world is housed in a Portland median. It’s situated in a two-foot wide plot on what’s now called Naito Parkway.

Dick Fagan was an eccentric man. In 1946, he returned from World War II and resumed his journalism career with the Oregon Journal in Portland. From his second story window, he could see an unused hole in a median on Front Street (now Naito Parkway) that was supposed to house a light post that never arrived. As the hole began to collect weeds, he decided to plant flowers in it, brightening his view.


The Irishman billed the two-foot-wide plot “The Smallest Park in the World” and dedicated it on March 17, 1948 (St. Patrick’s Day). He named it after his column in the paper, “Mill Ends,” which refers to leftover irregular pieces of wood at lumber mills. Like the misfit lumber, the column told interesting stories. Fagan began publishing fantastical tales about his tiny park, often referencing the leprechauns who took residence in the 452 sq/inch lot.

As legend has it, the imaginative journalist spotted a leprechaun digging in the hole from his office window, and when he ran down and caught it, the leprechaun granted him a wish. Fagan wished for a park of his own, but since he didn’t specify the size, the leprechaun gave him the hole. That’s the real origin story of Mill Ends park, as far as its founder is concerned.

Mill Ends Park is the smallest city park in the world

Fagan’s favorite character was Patrick O’Toole, the leader of the leprechaun community. Though the writer often referenced O’Toole and the park in his whimsical column entries, the most famous story was a published response from the head leprechaun when the mayor tried to propose an 11 p.m. curfew on all city parks. O’Toole warned the dangers of trying to evict him and his followers and threatened a leprechaun’s curse if the mayor attempted to do so. Subsequently, the leprechauns were allowed to stay.

Unfortunately, Fagan died of cancer in 1969, but lives on in the spirit of Mill Ends Park. “The only leprechaun colony west of Ireland” was recorded by the Guinness World Records as the smallest park in the world in 1971 and was named an official city park in 1976. On St. Patrick’s Day, of course.

Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.