MCMENAMIN'S OLD ST FRANCIS SCHOOL
Featured in the February 2005 Issue
Pool & Pool at St Francis School
By: Pat Sheehan
“Where is that beautiful iron crucifix going Mike?” I asked Mike McMenamin at his
headquarters. “To the St Francis School in Bend, we’ll be starting soon,” was his
answer. I had to ask if there was room for pool tables in the plan, and he assured
me there would be. “There’s a lot of room for fun things at the school,” he replied
in his favorite term FUN. Mike always puts fun into everything he does, that’s why
his places are always successful. Everybody likes to have fun, and the pool tables
have been more and more important to that success.
The fun part for me is that Mike sees to it that each place has its own history
and Tim Hills, the resident historian, always keeps me apprised of the details. The
story of St Francis School really caught my attention. Uncles Bill and Howard talked
about a cousin who was a priest in Eastern Oregon and who should have been the
founder of the school, Father Luke Sheehan from County Cork. Most of the Sheehans
left Ireland due to the political situation at home. They wrote a book, “Is there a
Sheehan in Ireland?” because family members were hard to find in the “Old Sod”. The
buildings he started are now Mike’s newest place and Mike kept the story alive with
the development of the property. The school grew in its downtown location to take
care of the Irish Catholic immigrants from 1936 to 2000, when the school relocated
to a new campus. Mike saw the possibilities and bought the property, but kept the
idea of the school alive in his plans. The twenty rooms and four bungalows all tell
a little story of the Priests, Nuns and Students who were a part of the school and
a part of history.
Mike was given a pool table from the Old Palace Billiards in Bend but it was a
4 ½ x 9 Snooker Table and the room was 18 feet wide. Rather than crowd the table,
Mike asked me to make two Pro size 46 x 92 tables since we couldn’t stretch the
room for both walls were supporting. We will make a pool table out of that Snooker
and find another home for it.
We made the two tables with Quarter Sawn Oak and they fit the room perfectly. The
finishing stages were going on as we arrived and the future poolroom was still part
of the finish carpenters shop. There wasn’t room to walk in as we arrived, but as we
brought tables in the old pool table and the carpenters tools were on the way out.
As always with the finishing program, when the going gets tough the tough get going.
As the pool tables went together all the finishing touches went on in the building
and as we left the first party was starting and they haven’t stopped since.
It is the greatest spot in Central Oregon to have the greatest time. In the winter
the mountains beckon the skiers to the slopes and the St Francis is a great spot to
unwind afterwards. Great beer, wine, distilled beverages, food, a warm fire, a little
pool, a soak in the most beautiful Turkish bathing pool, this old pool builder has
ever seen. Then depending on how many are in your party, a comfortable room or one
of the bungalows. The summer time gives the great views that Central Oregon is famous
for, sun, fishing, wild water rafting and the high desert charm.
Be sure to call for reservations because the joint is always jumping. Call ahead if
you want to eat in the dining room for the line goes around the block until after
2:00 pm for lunch. The food brings them in and the brews that are made on the
premises keeps them there. Call 541-382-7174 or 877-661-4228 for info or reservations
or email: email@example.com
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