What is Bohemian Grove? The secretive Sonoma County camp visited by Justice Clarence Thomas

Here is what to know about the Monte Rio campground and annual gathering.|

Bohemian Grove, the annual men-only summer retreat in Monte Rio, regularly attracts powerful men. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is one of those men, according to a ProPublica report out Thursday about luxury trips taken by Thomas paid for by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow.

So, what is Bohemian Grove? Here’s what to know.

It is a 2,700-acre campground owned by San Francisco’s secretive Bohemian Club in the west county town of Monte Rio. The group bought the land in 1899. Each July it plays host to a two-weeklong gathering of business and political leaders. The guest list is secret but some of the famous people known to have attended including presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and author Jack London.

An 1880 newspaper report of a Bohemian Club gathering described it as a “joyous occasion,” according to a July 2021 Press Democrat story.

The gathering has a history of controversy, including the exclusion of women. There have been protests over the years but recently those have become smaller and smaller.

Each year, before the rich and powerful bid farewell to Sonoma County, the Bohemian Club hosts a popular variety show fundraiser benefiting local nonprofits and starring some members from the entertainment world. In 2022, comedian and TV personality Conan O’Brien hosted the event, which was attended by more than 2,000 people.

Here is some of what The Press Democrat has written about the gathering:

July 2022: Protests have waned at Bohemian Grove but suspicion lingers

July 2021: A look back: The origins of Bohemian Grove campground

July 2019: Chris Smith: The Bohemian Grove and the menace of truly fake news

June 2019: Sonoma County supervisors approve sheriff’s contract for all-male Bohemian Club

July 2018: Bohemian Grove: Historic photos show secretive club's early days in Monte Rio

July 2013: LeBaron: The story behind Bohemian Grove

July 2013: Elite in town for annual Bohemian Grove gathering

July 2012: Occupy protesters mark start of Bohemian retreat

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