SPOKANE, Wash. — Sunday is Father's Day!
And believe it or not, that holiday actually originated in Spokane, after a mother created Father's Day.
Everything started when a woman called Sonora Dodd started to drift to her own childhood in her mind while in church with her husband in downtown Spokane on Mother's Day.
She started to think about how wonderful fathers are, and why there wasn't a Father's Day. So, she petitioned the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and the YMCA, and other groups in town and persuaded them to believe that fathers deserved a special day.
That day was created and celebrated for the very first time in Spokane in 1910, the third Sunday of the month of June. The celebration brought a parade through downtown Spokane for the very first Father's Day that year.
"The reason why Sonora was particularly proud of her dad is that her dad was a single dad of six kids. Mom passed away very early in her childhood, and she was the only girl in the family. So, she did the best she could, helping her dad doing the best he could," said Spokane historian Tom McArthur.
The house where the family lived still stands in Wilbur, Washington, although there is no plaque or marker to say so. However, there is a plaque in front of the house where Sonora lived all her adult life at the bottom of Perry Street Hill.
The house is the only private home in Eastern Washington declared a National Historic site to honor the legacy of the mother of Father's Day.
"One of the heartwarming pieces of this story is that even though Sonora lobbied 62 years to get Father's Day declared a national holiday, she lived to see that," McArthur said. "We're standing by her headstone upon which is engraved the year 1978. So she lived a few years when Father's Day was a national holiday. I'm happy she got to see that."
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