Dodd House – Spokane, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Dodd House

The former home of the "Mother of Father's Day." 


The large plaque outside this bungalow is the only hint the building isn’t an ordinary house. It’s the former home of Sonora Smart Dodd, the “Mother of Father’s Day.”

Dodd had the idea to begin a national day for dads while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Her father, a Civil War veteran and widower, had raised Dodd and her five brothers by himself.

A year later, Dodd’s plans to host a day-long celebration honoring her dad came to fruition. On June 19, 1910, the city of Spokane honored its first official Father’s Day at a local YMCA. Dodd had originally hoped to celebrate the day on June 5, her father’s birthday, but it was pushed back until the third Sunday of June.

Dodd wasn’t the first American woman to suggest the idea of a Father’s Day (a woman in West Virginia had suggested it to her pastor in 1908), but she’s credited with bringing national attention to the idea, thanks to the years she spent campaigning for the holiday. In 1972, decades after previous presidents and senators had showed their support, President Richard M. Nixon finally signed a bill into law federally recognizing Father’s Day.

Know Before You Go

The house is a private residence so you can't go inside, but you can view its exterior and read the historic plaque out front.

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