Our First 100 Years

Our First 100 Years

The Swedish Story

It has been a privilege to have served the people of our community over the last 100 years, and it will be a privilege to serve even more of you — in more places, in more ways, and with more new thinking than ever — in the years and centuries to come.

Our History

In 1908, Dr. Nils Johanson, a surgeon and Swedish immigrant, convinced 10 of his fellow Swedish-Americans to buy $1,000 bonds in order to open Swedish Hospital. Dr. Johanson's dream was to provide Seattle with a first-class nonprofit hospital.


June 1, 1910: Swedish is Founded

On June 1,1910, nearly two years after the original incorporation, a lease was signed on a two-story apartment house at 1733 Belmont Ave. The 24-bed facility began accepting patients just a few months later.

Since its early days as a small, nonprofit hospital in the young port town of Seattle, Swedish has served its surrounding communities with high-quality health care.

In 1912, the Swedish Board of Trustees acquired a nearby 40-bed private hospital that was nearing completion when the founder of that hospital (Dr. Edmund Rininger) died unexpectedly. The new facility, located at Summit and Columbia, would become the cornerstone of Swedish Medical Center/First Hill.

To meet increasing demand, the hospital's first patient wing was added just four years later. During the next 50 years, every decade saw the addition of new buildings and enhanced facilities. Even during the Great Depression, Swedish persevered in its commitment to serve its community. In 1932, it opened the first cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. Today, the Swedish Cancer Institute treats more people for more types of cancer than any other provider in the Pacific Northwest.

By 1975, with the addition of professional office buildings and the area's first independent day-surgery program, Swedish had grown to become a major medical center. In 1980, Doctors Hospital and Seattle General Hospital closed, merging with Swedish.

Ballard Community Hospital became a valuable part of the Swedish system in 1992. Now known as Swedish Medical Center/Ballard, it continues to play a vital role in the North Seattle community.

Providence Seattle Medical Center, founded by the Sisters of Providence, also added important expertise and resources when it joined the Swedish system in 2000. The Providence location is now called Swedish Medical Center/Cherry Hill.

Stevens Hospital in Edmonds affiliated with Swedish through an innovative lease and management agreement on Sept. 1, 2010. It's now Swedish Medical Center/Edmonds, enhancing access for residents in the northend.

Swedish expanded further in the northend and eastside, opening new freestanding emergency rooms and outpatient centers in Redmond in December 2010, and the Mill Creek area in February 2011.

In late August 2009, Swedish broke ground on a new state-of-the-art medical center in Issaquah, scheduled to open in two phases. Phase one, Outpatient Services, opened in July 2011, while phase two, Inpatient Services, was completed ahead of schedule and opened in November 2011, further enhancing access for residents on the eastside.

In October 2011, Swedish announced plans to form an innovative affiliation with Providence Health & Services that would improve health-care quality, access and affordability for the residents of Western Washington. In February 2012, Swedish and Providence finalized the affiliation agreement, and joined forces to improve health care for Western Washington.

As Swedish has evolved, its founder's vision has not changed: to be the best nonprofit medical facility in the region.

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