I had exactly one half hour of unscheduled free time yesterday, so of course I spent it reading Wikipedia. Randomly, I read through an entry about the World's Smallest Park, which is Mill Ends Park located right here in Portland on scenic Naito Parkway.

The entry starts off normal. Then it turns insane.

Mill Ends Park (sometimes mistakenly called Mill's End Park) in Portland, Oregon, United States, 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.

Uh, what? Luckily, after some sane jibber jabber about the size of the park and its founder, newspaper columnist Dick Fagan, the leprechaun angle resumes:

Fagan told the story of the park's origin: 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.

We wrote about Mill Ends a couple years ago but somehow neglected to mention that the official purpose of the park is to provide a home for snail-racing leprechauns. In most cities, Fagan would probably lose his job for announcing he often conversed with the wee king of the leprechauns. In Portland, he got a hero's applause and his own public park.


photo via Squid Vicious