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  • Writer's pictureSan Francisco Heritage

Where Women Made History: The Doolan-Larson Building

Tina D'Elia portraying Peggy Caserta in a June 2021 performance of OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury at 1506 Haight Street in the Doolan-Larson Building.

The Doolan-Larson Building, donated to SF Heritage by owner Norman Larson upon his death in 2018, is included in National Trust for Historic Preservation's 1,000 Places Where Women Made History, which honors the many female leaders who have contributed to our country's history and culture. It was in this building at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets that Peggy Caserta, an openly bisexual woman, started her mod boutique Mnasidika (1965-1968) at 1510 Haight St.

Herb Greene photo print of Peggy Caserta inside Mnasidika in 1967, located inside the Doolan-Larson residence today.

As the first “hip” store in the neighborhood, Mnasidika was instrumental in the development of Haight-Ashbury as a hippie enclave, and famous figures of the era such as The Grateful Dead and Bill Graham would regularly stop by. In 1966 Caserta became the primary female love interest of the electric Janis Joplin, and the two remained lovers until Joplin’s death in 1970. Mnasidika’s original storefront remain largely intact today.

Peggy has inspired our pilot artists-in-residence at the D-L Building, from Jeremy Fish Artwork's original ink drawing "Queen of the Jeans" to actor Tina D'Elia's portrayal of Peggy in OUT of Site: Haight Ashbury. The latter performance featured a recreation of Mnasidika at 1506 Haight Street, a few doors down from the original site of the iconic clothing boutique.

"Queen of Jeans," by visual artist and SF Heritage artist-in-residence Jeremy Fish.

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