Did you know Father’s Day was actually founded right here in Spokane? Sonora Smart Dodd, a Spokane native, worked to create the holiday to honor her single father. The Dodd home can be viewed in Spokane, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more about this historic holiday below.
During a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired to create a similar day that recognized fathers.
Sonora, often referred to as the “Mother of Father’s Day,” was 16 years old when her mother died, leaving her father William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in Eastern Washington.
With the assistance of Reverend Dr. Conrad Bluhm, Sonora took the idea for Father’s Day to the Spokane YMCA. The Spokane YMCA, along with the Ministerial Alliance, endorsed Dodd’s idea and helped spread the word by celebrating the first Father’s Day in 1910. Sonora suggested her father’s birthday, June 5, be established as the day to honor all fathers. However, the pastors wanted more time to prepare, so June 19, 1910 was designated as the first Father’s Day and sermons honoring fathers were presented throughout the city.
Father’s Day didn’t gain national prominence, however, until years later. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father’s Day and urged the states to do so as well. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day. President Richard M. Nixon signed a proclamation in 1972, permanently observing Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June.
Stop by the house and then head to the nearby South Perry District for food, craft beer, shopping and more!
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