Father's Day: A Brief History Lesson

Spokane's Dodd House is historically significant as the home of Sonora Smart Dodd, recognized worldwide as the founder of Father's Day.

Washington state holds a piece of Father's Day history.

Mother's Day started in Virginia in 1908. In 1909, a young Spokane, Washington mother, artist, and poet named Sonora Smart Dodd sat in church and listened to a Mother's Day sermon. She wondered why fathers didn't have a day of honor as well.

Ms. Dodd, one of six children raised by a single father, started a petition and eventually convinced the local YMCA and then the Spokane Ministerial Alliance to honor fathers. On June 19, 1910, religious leaders throughout Spokane extolled the virtues of fatherhood—our country's first Father's Day.

One hundred and four years ago, Spokane celebrated the nation's first Father's Day.

Mother's Day was recognized as a national holiday in 1914. While many communities around the country picked up the practice of celebrating fathers in mid-June, the day did not become a permanent national holiday until President Richard M. Nixon declared it so in 1972. Numerous presidents recommended the holiday in previous years but controversy about likely commercialization prevented them from completing the task.

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