Native people, the Ohlone Tribe, were the first inhabitants of present day Hayes Valley. During this period in history there was a seasonal creek that cut through the valley and gave life to various plants and wildflowers. That creek still flows, but underground.
Eventually the Natives lost their hold on this land, and the settlers started the town of San Francisco. This neighborhood, on the outskirts of the village became a neighborhood full is full of Victorian style homes that were actually spared during the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Hayes Valley and Hayes Street are named after Thomas C. Hayes (1823-1868) a native of Ireland who at the age of 18 set out for the West Coast in search of gold. He eventually became a politician, a militia man, and a large land owner around the Hayes Valley area. He was very pro-Southern and pro-slavery, and he was also known for duels and violence. In fact, he acted as a second in many duels that took place in San Francisco in those days.
It is possible that this section of town was named after this aggressive, racist man because in 1856 his brother, Michael Hayes, happened to be on the town’s committee that was in charge of naming streets and parts of the city. The meek may inherit the earth, but it will be named after people with a very different personality type.
* Info from Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards, & Wikipedia.