(Photo of Druid’s Hall, Nicasio, 1905 / © Nicasio Historical Soc.)
Were there Druids in Marin County? Yes, actually. This historic photo taken on the square in Nicasio shows the Druid’s Hall over the general store in 1905. The United Ancient Order of Druids is a fraternal organization started in England in 1771 to promote companionship and social virtue. Druids crossed the Atlantic to the United States in 1830. The first “grove” in Marin County was instituted in Bolinas in 1874. The next one was begun in Olema in 1881, followed by Nicasio in 1885. Orders were also established in San Rafael, Tomales, Novato and Sausalito. There were Druids everywhere.
In 1934, the Druids built a new dance hall which replaced their bocce ball court. When the original Druid’s Hall and general store burned in 1952, the dance hall survived and is still a feature of Nicasio Square.
Today, there are three active Druid “groves” in Nicasio, Tomales and Novato.