The first Greeks in Tacoma arrived by 1901, either to escape the extreme poverty back home or to avoid conscription in the Turkish army, thereby being forced to fight against fellow Greeks. In the Puget Sound area, they found work on the railroads and in wood mills. They also became shop owners. The first Greek woman arrived eight years later, and by 1914, the colony had reached a population of 1,000, most of them single men.
Until 1918, a priest would come down from Seattle for the occasional baptism or funeral. At last in 1923, the necessary funds were raised to construct a church. The parish was organized the following year, a priest came, and the first Divine Liturgy in the newly-built church took place on Palm Sunday of 1924.
The name St. Nicholas, was put forward by the Greeks from the village of Gallimi, in Asia Minor. It seemed appropriate to name the church after the patron saint of fishermen, as much of the income of the Gallimians had been from that industry.
The Sunday School began at the church in 1924. Under the direction of Mr. Demetriades and several women, approximately forty children were enrolled and attended the first year. In 1929, Father Mistakidis reorganized the program. He gave instructions to twelve young women of the church on Thursdays and they, in turn, would teach the children on Sundays.
The children received oral instructions and used of a few books from Greece. Later, the Archdiocese printed a series of graded booklets and leaflets entirely in Greek, with the exception of a few of the more difficult Greek words. The first bilingual booklets were published around 1956 and were used until June 1960.