Bonnie Brae, or “Pleasant Hill” in Gaelic, is a South Denver neighborhood comprised of curvy streets and beautiful Denver homes. Established in 1923 by Denver local George Olinger, of Olinger Mortuary fame, and his real estate development firm Associated Industries, Bonnie Brae would experience a rocky start. Olinger sold his interest in the firm by 1925, and in 1928 Associated Industries would be bankrupt, its officers looting over $5 million dollars. The president and treasurer would eventually do time behind bars in Canyon City.
Few houses had been constructed by the onset of the Great Depression. The loss of revenue precluded a halt to the installment of vital infrastructure, such as roadways and sidewalks, necessary for the comfort of those few inhabitants who found themselves trapped in their new subdivision. Through the 1930’s, the neighborhood grew at a slow pace.
With the emergence of the small downtown section at University Boulevard and Exposition streets, the continued existence of Bonnie Brae was secure. Thanks to its slow development and contributions from many different home builders in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Bonnie Brae has one of the most unique collections of home styles found in Denver. Colonials, Craftsman, Italianate, Spanish and contemporary homes give the area an eclectic feel that is definitely upscale.
Bonnie Brae Tavern
The opening of the Bonnie Brae Tavern in 1934 provided a meeting place for locals and established a feeling of community. The tavern is still in business and is run by the descendants of Bill Dire, the one time filling station employee who saw an opportunity arise in the young suburb.
Another popular piece of Bonnie Brae real estate is the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream parlour. A destination throughout the year, it is not uncommon to see the line reach out the door and down the sidewalk. The nostalgic interior, handmade ice cream, and friendly staff keep this little corner shop on many Denver family do-to lists on any given afternoon.
While there has been a fair amount of new development along the curvaceous streets, most builders have been true to the original intent of George Olinger and his landscape architect S. R. DeBoer. The active Bonnie Brae Neighborhood Association strives to maintain the quaint, small community feeling. With only 700 homes representing the Bonnie Brae real estate market, the area is a sought after oasis within the Denver Metroplex. Its proximity to Cherry Creek and downtown Denver also make Bonnie Brae real estate a centrally located area that is minutes away from the Cherry Creek Mall, LODO, and other popular Denver destinations. Thankfully, the Bonnie Brae Neighborhood Association’s efforts and that of the Merchant’s Association and the Bonnie Brae City Council, have managed to maintain its charm throughout the decades.
Bonnie Brae Ice Cream
For a tour of Bonnie Brae or for information regarding any Denver real estate opportunities, please contact Jesse at Vintage Homes of Denver at 303-564-2245.
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