Adelphia College: Short-Lived Home of Capitol Hill’s Swedish Brothers and Sisters

Adelphia College building, 1905. From MOHAI.

In 1905, a college was founded near the corner of Roanoke and Interlaken to serve one of Capitol Hill’s many diverse communities, specifically its Swedish community. Derived from the Greek word adelphos, which means "brother", Adelphia College brought Capitol Hill’s Swedish brothers and sisters together through secular and religious education. And although Adelphia only existed until 1919 its influence is still present in the local Swedish community.

Adelphia was founded by Swedish-Baptist businessmen, whose “dream envisioned an academy, a four-year college, a school of theology and a commercial department.” This founding came at an opportune time when Seattle’s Swedish community was booming; approximately 150,000 Swedes settled in the Pacific Northwest from 1890-1910, attracted to the labor opportunities at the Ballard mills, Coal Creek mines, Seattle docks, and many other developing areas in the county.