Swedish immigrants began arriving in Seattle in the 1880s, and by 1900 had formed a thriving community of churches, businesses, social clubs, labor organizations, choruses, and dance groups, as well as a Swedish-language press. Their civic accomplishments are exemplified by well-known Seattle institutions founded by Swedish immigrants, including a national department store chain and a world-class medical facility, which began as Swedish Hospital. The story of the Swedish community in Seattle is also a personal history of families and friends building a new life as Americans. Swedish culture is perhaps most publicly visible in annual celebrations such as Midsummer and Lucia. A lively local interest in Swedish music and dance suggests that “Swedish” Seattle is not limited to residents who happen to be of Swedish descent.
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