Bonnie Brae is located in southeast metropolitan Denver. The winding streets, mature trees and friendly neighbors makes this one of Denver’s most treasured communities. It was developed in the 1940′s and 50′s. The homes range from the original smaller but unique houses, to multi-million dollar custom built homes.
Home prices have been strong in Bonnie Brae, a testament to the desirability of living near the center of a major metropolitan city, with parks, restaurants and shopping all within a few miles.
Located east of University Avenue between Mississippi and Exposition Avenues, Steele Street and University Boulevard, Bonnie Brae was developed in the 1920’s on land that had been granted to the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1870. The railroad eventually sold the land to farmers, and later it became part of the town of South Denver, one of the many small communities annexed by Denver.
George W. Olinger, one of the city’s most active businessmen in the 1920’s, began accumulating property in the area for his land development company, the Associated Industries Company. Olinger had been impressed by a subdivision he saw in Kansas City that was named Bonnie Brae, meaning “pleasant hill” in Gaelic. Borrowing the name, he strived to recreate the aura of peaceful Scottish village in Denver. In 1923, the company hired the noted landscape architect Saco DeBoer to design the street system for the new neighborhood in a fashion similar to the Kansas City subdivision. In planning the neighborhood of Bonnie Brae, DeBoer departed from the grid system that characterized most of Denver’s streets and focused on the land’s topography and natural beauty. The first homes were constructed in 1923 and 1924.
To demonstrate pride in the neighborhood, Olinger erected stone pillars at the entrances on Tennessee and Kentucky streets which remain today. Subdivision fillings were completed in April 1925, the same year Olinger sold his share of the Associated Industries Company. Three years later, the company declared bankruptcy, and most of Bonnie Brae fell into the city’s hands for tax debt. Further development in the area slowed as the depression gripped the country in the 1930’s.