The History of the Smallest Park in the World

written by Bronte Dod | photos by Rob Kerr

At just 2 feet across and with an area of 452 square inches, a circular cement urban park sits in the middle of Downtown Portland’s Naito Parkway. Mill Ends Park, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest park in the world, came about in 1948 when columnist Dick Fagan of the Oregon Journal planted flowers in a hole where city workers failed to put a light post.

Strange happenings involve Mill Ends Park. Take the Occupy Portland movement in 2011, when someone placed plastic green army men at the park. In 2013, someone stole the park’s sapling, but it resurfaced the next day. Mill Ends also caused a brief international dispute in 2014, when citizens in Burntwood, England, thought the record should be held by a park there, because it actually served as a recreation area. In the end, Mill Ends keeps its title, cementing its place in Portland’s long list of popular oddities and shenanigans.

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