Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spokane, Washington: Home of Father's Day

When Jasia challenged us all to come up with a Father's Day post for the Carnival of Genealogy, I couldn't resist! After all, I am the one geneablogger who lives in the birthplace of Father's Day!

Sonora Smart Dodd was raised along with her five siblings by their widowed father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War Veteran, in Spokane, Washington. Wikipedia reports:
She was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

These plaques, mounted on a rock in downtown Spokane's Riverfront Park, commemorate Mrs. Dodd and her accomplishment in setting aside an official day to honor all fathers. You can read more in this article on the city's website.


Jasia said...

I had no idea Father's Day was born in Spokane, WA! As a matter of fact, it never even occurred to me to wonder where it was born. I wish I'd known sooner... I would have suggested you host this edition of the COG. It would have been fitting. Oh well, there's always next year, right?

Miriam Robbins said...

I'll take you up on your offer for next year!

Jasia said...

You got it! (Remind me if I forget ;-)

Tim Agazio said...

I always thought Father's day was made up by retailers to create a reason for people to spend their money during a slow business period...see, my cynical side is peeking through. It's nice to know it was really created by someone who wanted to honor her father.

footnoteMaven said...

Miriam -

I knew you'd post something interesting from the home of Father's Day.

I've never seen the plaque. Is Mr. Smart buried in Spokane and do you have a picture of his grave?

Enjoy your blog as always.

Miriam Robbins said...

Maven, according the the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Graves Registration Database, William Jackson Smart was buried in Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane. I checked at FindAGrave , and there is not a memorial page, nor a photograph of his tombstone listed there. When I get my digital camera fixed, I will take a photo of it and create a memorial page.

Anonymous said...

The home that Sonora Smart Dodd and her husband John Dodd built in 1913 in Spokane on a lot that they purchased in 1909 is currently being restored and in the process of being registered as a home of historic significance. The home will be listed for both the Spokane and National Registers for historic homes. Sonora lived in the home until 1950. We are currently in the process of collecting information and researching her life and if you have any information that you ather or have gathered it would be greatly appreciated. e-mail to