If you haven’t been to the curvy streets
of Bonnie Brae, you are missing out on one of the
most charming neighborhoods in the city! While the
land that encompasses Bonnie Brae today was from a
grant to the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1870, the
actual development did not begin until the 1920’s
when George Olinger purchased the property with his
land development company, Associated Industries.
Platted in 1923 by S.R. DeBoer to emphasize the natural
topography, Bonnie Brae is largely composed of curvy
streets. The goal in mind was to create a Scottish
village within the city, and the name reflects this
idea: Bonnie Brae is “Pleasant Hill” in
The first houses in the neighborhood were built in
1923 and the first businesses were located on the
700 block of South University, which continues to
be the thriving heart of Bonnie Brae business today.
Olinger sold out of Associated Industries in 1925
and the company filed for bankruptcy in the late 1920’s.
This demise was negative for the development of Bonnie
Brae. The west part of the neighborhood had streets
and sidewalks but few houses. Development continued
to be stalled throughout the mid 1930’s.
Ellipse Park (created in 1936) was a turning point
for the neighborhood. Homes were built along the park
and development continued to increase as WWII approached.
To the east of the park, the majority of the construction
is circa 1940’s and 1950’s. Bonnie Brae
Boulevard showcases some of the more interesting architecture
in the city, with several examples of International
Style as well as Art Moderne building.
Today Bonnie Brae combines the best of the old and
of the new-the Bonnie Brae Tavern on South Universtiy
continues its longstanding operation (since 1934)
and new construction continues to spring up throughout