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Location 5

John & Sonora Dodd House

(SR) 603 S. Arthur Street

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Built in 1913 and 1922 respectively, the Dodd House & Garage are excellent examples of the Craftsman-style. The property was built 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.

During her tenure in the Dodd House, Sonora Dodd’s Father’s Day idea was observed throughout Spokane and many cities and towns across America, and was officially sanctioned by the United States Congress through her associations with “dozens of legislatures and governors,” William Jennings Bryan, Senator C.C. Dill, and Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge. Her tireless work while residing in the Dodd House led to an official proclamation signed by United States President Richard Nixon in 1972 which made Father’s Day an American holiday observed each year in June by millions of people throughout the country. “Father’s Day has grown from a citywide observance to a worldwide holiday…where more than 30 countries now celebrate” the day in honor of fathers everywhere.

Praised for enriching “the religious, civic, and cultural life of Spokane,” and for “giving Spokane credit in the eyes of the nation and the world,” Sonora Smart Dodd’s contributions were far-reaching, magnanimous, and were summarized by The Spokesman-Review at her death: “Honor for thousands of fathers everywhere and for her home city through [the] establishment of Father’s Day is an everlasting epitaph for Mrs. John Bruce Dodd.”