Jessica Fisher

Spokane Is the Birthplace of Father’s Day

Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, 509.625.6749

Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 5:07 p.m.

Spokane Is the Birthplace of Father’s Day

In 1910, Washington State celebrated the nation’s first Father’s Day. The day honoring dads was started by Spokane resident Sonora Smart Dodd who was raised by a widower.

While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at the Central Methodist Church, Sonora was inspired to create a day to recognize great fathers like her dad William Smart. William was a Civil War veteran who raised Sonora and her five brothers after his wife died during childbirth.

Sonora persuaded leaders from the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and the local YMCA to sign her petition to create a day honoring fathers. These organizations helped spread the word, leading to the mayor of Spokane and governor of Washington signing proclamations to celebrate the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

For the next 60 years, Sonora advocated for Father’s Day to become a national holiday. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day. Just six years later, President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent holiday.

On the centennial celebration of Father’s Day, the Dodd Home was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It had already been listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places on January 22, 2008. Sonora lived in the Dodd Home when she witnessed her idea of Father’s Day rise to national prominence. The Craftsman-style home is located at 603 S. Arthur Street and in the front yard you will find a plaque honoring Sonora Smart Dodd, the “Mother of Father’s Day.”

Happy Father’s Day to all the Spokane dad’s including my father Keith!

More About...