Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The smallest National Park

Jun 10, 2024, 7:00 PM

A view of the street where the smallest National Park is located....

A view of the street where the smallest National Park is located. (National Park Service)

(National Park Service)

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — A lot of Utahns will visit the Mighty 5 this summer. Hundreds of square miles of natural wonder that you’ll camp, hike and admire. In the meantime, I’ll be going to America’s smallest National Park.

It’s 2-tenths of an acre. About as small as the typical Utah backyard. And it was the one-time home of Thaddeus Kosciusko.

George Washington couldn’t figure out how to spell his name — praising this Polish immigrant for devising a winning revolutionary war battle strategy. Old George spelled his name 11 different ways before getting it right.

So, for the record: Kosciusko. Thaddeus Kos-CHOOSH-KO. A Park Service spokesman says his name sounds like a sneeze. Coincidentally, sneeze and you’ll miss this National Park. It’s just a run-of-the-mill row home with ho-hum furnishings in Philadelphia. So why’s the place Kosciusko lived for five months a national park? He’s a hero in Poland for his accomplishments around the world, so in 1946, a Polish millionaire who made his money with Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks donated the place to the National Park Service. And 30 years later they said “eh, might as well” and opened this underwhelming national park that includes not a single rock, nor blade of grass.

Perhaps the reason is that last year it only had 2,200 visitors.

Utah’s Mighty 5 had 10 million. But when I go to the Kosciusko house this summer I’ll soak up an entire national park, in about 20 minutes. 

Jeff Caplan is the host of Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Facebook and X. 

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The smallest National Park