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Father's Day turned 100 years old June 20, 2010, and a Spokane, Washington, woman is credited with being the founder of the annual celebration. Sonora Smart Dodd, often referred to as the "Mother of Father's Day," was 16 years old when her mother died in 1898, leaving her father William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in Eastern Washington.

In 1909 when Sonora heard a Mother's Day sermon at Central United Methodist Church in Spokane, she was inspired to propose that fathers receive equal recognition.

The following year with the assistance of Reverend Dr. Conrad Bluhm, her pastor at Old Centenary Presbyterian Church (now Knox Presbyterian Church), Sonora took the idea to the Spokane YMCA. The Spokane YMCA, along with the Ministerial Alliance, endorsed Dodd’s idea and helped it spread by celebrating the first Father’s Day in 1910. Sonora suggested her father’s birthday, June 5th, be established as the day to honor all Father’s. However, the pastors wanted more time to prepare, so...

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KSPS-TV uncovered the history behind Father's Day. It all started with a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd who grew up on a farm near Wilbur, Washington. Her mother died when she was just 16 years old and she resolved to honor her father for raising six children on his own.

Actor Craig T. Nelson, starring father and grandfather in NBC’s new hit show Parenthood, grew up in Spokane.  He recorded a public service announcement touting Spokane as the birthplace of Father’s Day that will air on KHQ-TV, the local NBC affiliate, beginning the last week in May.

The winner of the Father’s Day Poster Contest is a third grader at Chester Elementary School in Spokane Valley.  With his parents and grandparents in the audience, Jordan was honored in front of his entire school.  The contest was sponsored by the Spokane Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau and was coordinated by the Hospitality Class at Spokane Community College.  Jordan earned a family day pass to Riverfront Park and a $200 gift certificate to Steam Plant Grill.  His poster will be on display with more than 200 at River Park Square for the entire month of June.

Click here to see a slide show of more poster entries.

The Dodd Home
Built in 1913 for John Bruce Dodd, a Prudential Insurance Company agent and Spokane businessman, and his wife, Sonora Smart Dodd, a prominent Spokane artist, poet, civic benefactor, philanthropist, and the founder of Father's Day.

From 1913 to 1950, the Dodd House was owned by the Dodd family and gained importance in the areas of significance called "architecture" and "social history" as a fine example of its type (the Craftsman-style bungalow) and as the home of Sonora Smart Dodd, who is recognized around the world as the woman who created and promoted official city and federal recognition of Father's Day.

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