Bonnie Brae is located east of University Avenue between Mississippi and Exposition avenues, Steele Street and University Boulevard. The community was developed in the 1920’s on land that had been granted to the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1870. The railroad was eventually sold to farmers and it later became part of the town of South Denver.
Bonnie Brae means “pleasant hill” in Gaelic. George Olinger, an active Denver businessman began accumulating property in the area and strived to recreate the aura of a peaceful Scottish village in Denver.
Many of the homes in Bonnie Brae were constructed during the 1920’s and 1930’s utilizing innovative architectural compositions. Home styles in Bonnie Brae range from charming Cape Cods and tidy brick ranches to two-story Brick and Frame homes, English Tudors and some of the best examples of International Style and Art Moderne Architecture.
Winding streets surrounding an elliptical-shaped park make Bonnie Brae a serene residential oasis in the midst of the city. As Bonnie Brae grew, many businesses opened along University Boulevard. Today the thriving commercial area between Exposition and Ohio streets still functions as the “Main Street” of one Denver’s most charming neighborhoods.
The community’s quaint commercial district is within walking distance of most homes where residents can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants ranging from fine dining and coffee shops, to ice cream parlors and sports bars. Dolly Madison Dairy opened in the 1940’s, now the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream and the Bellaire Restaurant, now the Campus Lounge, in 1961…and both remain in business today.
Bonnie Brae has had an organized neighborhood association for many years. There is an annual picnic in late summer where neighbors can reconnect and enjoy a variety of food and activities. The association’s mission is to provide a conduit with the city, assist in community development, and facilitate any efforts to improve the quality of life in Bonnie Brae.