The Bedrock: Polish Cultural Center in Seattle and the Polish Home Association
Pretty much every local Polish organization in Seattle has an official address and meetings at the Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski on Capitol Hill, also known as the Polish Home or the Polish Hall. The most important of these organizations is the Polish Home Association (PHA). Created in 1918, it has owned the Polish Home building and the related real property lots for over a century. PHA is the host to all other organizations.
Polish Home Manager Grazyna Olejniczak, telephone at the building (206) 322-3020. The ballroom, the restaurant as well as meeting rooms are available for renting, please see the rental info at the PHA website or contact the Manager.
Polish Women’s Club organizes Polish Bazaars twice a year. The spring bazaar is on Saturday before Palm Sunday (a week before Easter) and the fall bazaar is a 2-day event on the first weekend of November.
Other Polish Organizations in Seattle
All Polish organizations are happy to welcome new members, please contact the organization you are interested in directly. Also big events organized by different organizations provide ample opportunity for volunteers.
● Seattle Polish Foundation (SPF), formerly Polish Home Foundation, since 2000; President John Golubiec. This is the principal Polish charity organization in Seattle, supporting variety of Polish cultural events, initiatives and causes as well as fundraisers. The biggest fundraiser was for the Polish Home Expansion Project 2005-2010, with the price tag at $800,000, for the new wing of the building and a new parking lot.
SPF is the producer of the annual Polish Festival Seattle at the Seattle Center, since 2012; Director Alisa Lidzbarski Lahti. This is the biggest Polish event in Seattle and State of Washington, typically 7,000-10,000 people attend the event happening on the second Saturday in July. The other big event produced by SPF is the Annual Seattle Pierogi Fest at the Polish Cultural Center since 2006, typically on the second Saturday in May.
● Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association, (SGSCA), since 1993; President Zbigniew Konofalski. SGSCA facilitates cultural, educational and business exchange between Seattle and Gdynia, including the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.
Another event organized by SGSCA is a yearly summer business school in Gdynia and other cities in Poland for high school students. SGSCA also brings some students from Poland to a summer business school in Ellensburg, WA.
UW PSEC is raising funds to establish an Endowed Chair of Polish Studies at the University of Washington. In addition, it sponsors a Distinguished Speaker Series, provides student scholarships, collaborates with the Polish-US Fulbright Commission, and builds partnerships with community organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
● Polish Scouts (ZHP), Troup Kaszuby, since 1986; Scout Master / Harcmistrz Anna Borodenko. The local scout organization is headquartered in Seattle, but there is also a scout group in Tacoma. Scout meetings are in Polish.
Polish Organizations in WA State
● Polish National Alliance (PNA) / Związek Narodowy Polski, Lodge #156 in Tacoma, since 1890, president: Janina Hansen; nowadays it has meetings at the Polish Cultural Center in Seattle.
PNA is a fraternity insurance organization, established in 1880. The Tacoma Lodge #156 is the oldest Polish organization in our state; this is also the only surviving PNA lodge in the state. The Wilkeson Lodge #480 and the Seattle Lodge #489, both established in 1899, merged with the Tacoma Lodge. The Seattle Lodge “Jedność – Towarzystwo Polaków i Litwinów na Zachodzie” was the direct predecessor of the Polish Home Association.
Polish Organizations in Oregon
The Polish community in Portland is centered around the Polish Hall & Library and the adjacent St. Stanislaus Church. This has been a very dynamic community staging the annual, two-day Polish Festival in Portland in September, that has been the biggest Polish event on the west coast (about 15,000 to 20,000 people).
● Polish Library Building Association (PLBA) since 1911; President Ted Fiszer
● Portland Polish Festival, since 1994; The festival technically started as a Polish parish fundraiser, but for years has been staged by the whole community and provided funds for different cultural events there.
● Polish School in Portland, since 1994; Principal Renata Dajnowska
100 years of Polish history in Portland – this is a very interesting video that includes many vintage photographs from a presentation on the Oregon Polish community history from the early 1890s to establishing of the church and the library before WWI.
Across the Border in Canada
The Vancouver area
Polish community in Vancouver, BC is way bigger than our local community in Seattle. It has created three Polish parishes and two principal Polish organizations. There are also two or three different Polish culture festivals and two different dance groups called Polonez. They even have a Polish language theatre and we can only envy the top notch quality of the concerts organized by the Vancouver Chopin Society.
Before COVID-19, a trip from Seattle to Vancouver, BC was actually shorter than to Portland, OR. Let’s hope the border will again be as easy to cross as before.
● Polish Community Center Zgoda, since 1926; President Andrzej Matuszewski
● SPK – Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów – Polish Veterans in Vancouver, BC
● Belweder – North Shore Polish Association – Polish organization in North Vancouver, BC
● The Vancouver Chopin Society, since 1997.
● Vancouver Polish Theatre – Teatr Polski Vancouver facebook page
There have been other Polish theatre organizations in Vancouver. Maybe they emerge again after pandemic is over.
● White Eagle Hall – Polish Association in Victoria, BC.
● White Eagle Band, founder Ryszard Rudzki, musical director & violinist Małgorzata Dzbik.
All festivals as well as singing and dancing groups in Seattle have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, the Polish Film Club screenings at the Polish Cultural Center wait for better times.
On the other hand the Book Club (in Polish) and the Literature Club (in English) simply moved to Zoom.
Polish Festival Seattle at the Seattle Center, produced by the Seattle Polish Foundation with the help of other organizations since 2012, Director Alisa Lidzbarski Lahti. This is the biggest Polish event in Seattle and State of Washington, typically 7,000-10,000 people attend the event happening on the second Saturday in July.
Seattle Polish Film Festival, started in 1992, produced by the Seattle-Gdynia Sister City Association; Managing Director Zbyszek Pietrzyk, Artistic Director Michal Pietrzyk. SPFF happens in October or November each year.
Portland Polish Festival, since 1994; at two days in September, it’s the biggest Polish festival on the west coast, with attendance estimated at 15,000-20,000 people. The festival started as a fundraiser for the Polish Parish there, but for years has been staged by the whole community and provides funds supporting cultural events at the Polish Hall in Portland. Contact Agnieszka Laska.
● The Northwest Council of the Chopin Foundation of the United States (Chopin NW, since 2001), President Dr. Adam Aleksander. This organization isn’t connected to the Polish Cultural Center, it’s a chapter of the Chopin Foundation of Miami. It produces the annual NW Chopin Competition in Seattle for young pianist, aged from 8 to 19+, playing music of Frederic Chopin.
● Salon of Poetry, poetry reading in Polish, animator Lena Wrozynski
● Polish Book Club, discussions on books in Polish, moderator Paulina Phung
● Polish Literature Club, discussions on Polish literature in English, moderator Paulina Phung
There are several social media pages both in English for Polish-Americans or anybody interested in Polish culture etc. and in Polish for native Polish speakers who live in the Seattle area.
Note that Polish language pages sometimes have English entries and vice-versa, so some of these facebook pages could be put in both groups.
Facebook pages in English
Dom Polski w Seattle Polish Cultural Center – the official page of the Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski in Seattle. Info about events staged there and in other places by the local Polish community.
Polish Women’s Club – the page of the Polish Home Association ladies’ organization, producers of the Polish Bazaars in spring and fall every year.
Pacific Northwest Polish Americans – forum for people sharing thoughts and news about Polish culture, history, sports, current news etc.
Seattle Young Polish Network – a social group for Polish-American and international young professionals and adults to build a community, network and share common interests in Polish culture.
Seattle Polish Film Festival – info about the annual Polish FF in Seattle and about Polish movies, directors etc. Festival typically takes ten days in October or November with venues at the SIFF cinema(s) and at the Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski.
Polish Festival Seattle – info about the annual Polish Festival at the Seattle Center, typically happening on the second Saturday in July. The biggest Polish cultural event in the city.
Annual Seattle Pierogi Fest – posts about the Pierogi Fest at the Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski, typically happening on the second Saturday in May.
My garden and more – post sharing nice pictures of flowers and plants mostly from your garden. Originally a Polish language group, now with mixed language posts.
Strony po polsku na Facebooku:
Polki w Seattle i okolicy – grupa dla kobiet w rejonie Seattle, największa polska grupa
Polskie mamy na Eastside i w Seattle – grupa wsparcia dla kobiet wychowujących dzieci, organizacja spotkań i wymiana doświadczeń
Polacy w Seattle – pytania, odpowiedzi, rózne sprawy, także aktualności polonijne
Szkoła Polska w Bellevue – wiecej informacji pod zakladką Polish Language & School
Warsztaty Kulinarne – Wspólna Kuchnia – dzielenie się efektami własnej kuchni, od chleba i ciast do różnych polskich albo tutejszych dań
My garden and more – dzielenie sie widokami roślin i kwiatów z własnego (przeważnie) ogrodu. Oryginalnie grupa polska, teraz mieszanka językowa.
Domowy komfort – porady domowe, zwłaszcza dla nowoprzybyłych.
Buy, Sell, Trade – Polacy Eastside i Seattle – najrózniejsze rzeczy, w tym także polskie książki, gry i książeczki po polsku dla dzieci itp.
Oddam, Wezmę Za Darmo – jak w tytule, ale nasze lokalne.
- Polish School in Bellevue, also facebook Szkoła Polska w Bellevue, Principal Anna Cholewinska, tel. (425) 736 1209,
- Polish School in Seattle (at the Polish Cultural Center), Principal Maria Grabowska 425-271-3669
- Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington
- Polish School in Tacoma, at the Polish Parish (see Polish churches info)
- Radio Wisła – internet streaming in Polish; interviews with members of the local Polish community; different cultural sections etc.
- Library at the Polish Cultural Center Dom Polski – books CDs and DVDs. This is the new library upstairs, open on Friday nights – service suspended due to coronavirus.
- Seattle Public Library – Slavic librarian Leszek Chudzinski, books, CDs, DVDs in Polish
- UW Library has a big collection of Polish books, CDs and DVDs and acquires dozens each month. Contact Prof. Michael Biggins, Head, Slavic and East European Section.
The Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Seattle
Honorary Consul Teresa Indelak Davis
The consular territory of the Consulate covers the entire State of Washington.
Contacts to the Consulate:
email: [email protected]
Facebook Consulate page
Polish Churches in the Pacific NW
- Seattle, WA: St. Margaret of Scotland Roman Catholic Parish, Fr. Andrzej Galant, SChr, tel. 206-282-1804.
- Tacoma, WA: Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Parish, Fr. Eugeniusz Bołda, SChr, tel. 253-507-5861.
- Portland, OR: St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Parish, Fr. Piotr Dzikowski, SChr, tel. 502-281-7532.
There are also three Polish parishes across the bother in Canada, in the greater Vancouver region. The biggest is St. Casimir’s Parish in Vancouver, BC.