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History Stop - 116 Clement

The Plough and Stars
This story stop is part of a self-guided history walk of Clement Street made available by Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP), a 501(c)(3) community history nonprofit founded in 1999 that preserves, interprets, and shares the diverse history and culture of San Francisco’s west side. Unless otherwise indicated, photographs used on this walk are from WNP’s OpenSFHistory Program, launched in 2014 to digitize and make accessible online thousands of historical images from throughout San Francisco.
Posters were laid out by Drew Moss and designed and printed by John Lindsey at The Great Highway gallery. Histories were modified by Nicole Meldahl, Drew Moss, and Chelsea Sellin, from WNP’s Clement Street Pub Crawl held in April 2023. They’ve been installed to celebrate new banners designed by artist Risa Culbertson and sponsored by the Clement Street Merchants Association (CSMA) in August 2023, thanks to funding from Avenue Greenlight.
South side of Clement Street near 2nd Avenue, 1951.
South side of Clement Street near 2nd Avenue, 1951. (SF Assessors Office Negatives; WNP Collection / wnp58.134)
The evolving history of 116 Clement Street speaks to the successive waves of immigration that have created the vibrant, cosmopolitan community we have today in the Richmond District. Constructed in 1905, the building (visible on the far right of the above photo) was home to a French laundry for most of its history, a reflection of a robust French population that also built the French Hospital nearby on Geary. Listen to Episode #405 of our Outside Lands San Francisco podcast to learn more about French Hospital.
Clement French Laundry was owned and operated by Calixte Lapuyade at the time this photo was taken in 1951, but it was originally opened by Frank Mirandette, who lived next door with his family at 114 Clement Street. Born to a Spanish mother and French father, Frank immigrated to America from France in 1890 and originally settled in Oakland. He married a fellow French immigrant, Francoise Gouber, in 1895, and the couple moved to Los Gatos where they opened the Los Gatos French Laundry.
As their family grew, the Mirandettes moved to San Francisco where Frank began working at a laundry located at 2449 Mission Street. He eventually became a partner in that business by 1907, and it was renamed Mirandette & Pratt. He opened the French laundry on Clement around 1910 and called it Mirandette & Lapuyade when he took on a partner, Calixte Lapuyade, in 1912. The Mirandette family moved to Redwood City in 1917 and Lapuyade became the sole proprietor of the business, renaming it Clement French Laundry. The Lapuyades ran the business through the 1940s until they too relocated to Redwood City. It’s unclear who owned the business in the 1950s, but by 1960 it transferred to the Baylacq family, who had been operating laundries in San Francisco since 1906 (according to advertisements placed in the 1960s).
Francois “Frank” Baylaqc was also a native of France who came here in 1900, and we believe he married a member of the extended Lapuyade family, Marie, in 1913. Frank ran an eponymous French laundry on O’Farrell Street and was joined by his two sons, George and Albert. The family lived in the Sunset District on 30th Avenue, where Frank retired in the early 1970s. Members of the extended Baylacq family lived in the Richmond District on 6th Avenue, 16th Avenue, and 34th Avenue. Frank’s sons managed Baylacq French Laundry until 1974, when Sunny and Doris Woo applied for a permit to operate the Wash Laundry here.
The Plough and Stars you see today opened its doors on Friday, April 30, 1975. The Irish pub and live music venue was operated by Bob Heaney (original owner of the Starry Plough in Berkeley) until 1981, when current owner Sean Heaney took over the business. Sean came to San Francisco as part of a wave of immigrants leaving Ireland due to a severe economic recession in the 1980s. The bar continues to be a gathering place for Irish immigrants who come here for community, networking, and familiar music.
Sean’s love of traditional music has made The Plough and Stars a destination for musicians and enthusiasts alike. You can catch a wide variety of performances here, from bluegrass to DJ sets, but some of the best nights are due to the bar’s seisuns: informal gatherings of musicians who play traditional music as a group. These sessions are generally led by two people but anyone is welcome to join. Keep an eye on The Plough’s calendar to catch an upcoming program.
Sean and his wife, Lisa, a local elementary school teacher, have lived in the Richmond District for over 30 years. Now their two children, Elena and Eoin, are also part of the family business – booking musicians, overseeing major events at The Plough, and managing the bar. When you order a pint of Guinness, be sure to ask Eoin if Van Morrison has ever graced The Plough and Stars with his presence.
The bar was officially designated a San Francisco Legacy Business in 2018, and they even featured the photo we’re providing to you as part of this walk in their application.
Like history itself, this research is ongoing and always evolving. If you have something to add to this story, we would love to learn it! Please contact Chelsea Sellin, our Director of Programs: chelsea@outsidelands.org.
More by Nicole Meldahl and Drew Moss
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