Bohemian Grove

A path leading to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California.
A path leading to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California.

The Bohemian Grove is located in Monte Rio, California and consists of a 2,700 acre privately owned campground. Founding member Henry “Harry” Edwards was thrown a farewell party by about 100 Bohemians on July 29, 1878. This party was held in the Redwoods in Marin County near what is now Samuel P. Taylor State Park. The enthusiasm for this first encampment was so great that the Bohemians voted to hold an encampment each year. The Bohemian Grove was purchased by the Bohemian Club after the annual three week encampment was founded in 1878, as a permanent settlement for the yearly event. Melvin Cyrus Meeker sold the land that now hosts the Bohemian Club encampment to the club in 1899.

The Bohemian Grove is available for members interested in entertaining small groups of guests, although most guests are subject to a prescreening before admittance. Members are only allowed to bring spouses, friends and children to the grove during pre-scheduled day use events when there are no club events scheduled. During these day-use events women and minors are asked to vacate the property by 10:00 pm.

The facilities at Bohemian Grove consist mostly of entertainment areas including two large stages nestled in between Giant Redwood trees. Each year a play is performed as part of the 3 week encampment and both stages are equipped with lighting, sound and props. There are also sleeping quarters scattered throughout the grove as well as a club house overlooking the Russian River and a 1,500 person dining area. There is also an artificial lake in the middle of the grove which is used for informal talks and afternoon lectures.

Placard about Bohemian Grove and its Club, located in Muir Woods National Monument.
Placard about Bohemian Grove and its Club, located in Muir Woods National Monument.

Here are some interesting facts about Bohemian Grove:

  • Bohemian Grove is a private men’s club located in Monte Rio, California. It covers an area of around 2,700 acres of forest.
  • The club was founded in 1872 by a group of San Francisco journalists and artists who wanted to escape the city and enjoy nature.
  • The club’s membership is limited to around 2,000 people, who are primarily wealthy and influential men from politics, business, and entertainment.
  • The most famous event held at Bohemian Grove is the annual “Cremation of Care” ceremony, which takes place in front of a 40-foot stone owl statue. The ceremony is said to represent the club members’ desire to leave behind their worldly cares and enjoy a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood.
  • Other events held at Bohemian Grove include lectures, concerts, and performances by club members and invited guests.
  • The club has a strict no-camera policy, and members are expected to respect each other’s privacy.
  • Some conspiracy theorists have claimed that Bohemian Grove is a meeting place for the world’s elite to plot global domination and control. However, these claims have been widely debunked.
  • Several U.S. Presidents have been members of Bohemian Grove, including Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
  • The club has been the subject of several books and documentaries, including the 2000 film “Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove.”
  • In 2016, Bohemian Grove was the site of a protest by the activist group “The Bohemian Grove Action Network,” who were calling for more transparency and accountability from the club’s members.