Past & Present

Bonnie Brae homes have been built primarily since 1970, when 4% mortgages were the norm. Artery, Ltd. was the first construction company to break ground, resulting in the subdivisions called Spectra and Magna.

Edward R. Carr followed and added The Knolls North development.

McCarthy contributed the Timbers on the east side of Sideburn Road.

In 1978, Thurner completed the southern cul-de-sac of Aylor Road with four homes whose owners are members of Burke Center as well as Bonnie Brae.

The most recent additions have been Bonnie Brae Elementary School, followed by new homes on Sideburn’s west side between Acacia and the school, at the south end of Black Oak Drive and at the south end of Southport Lane.


One of the prettiest additions to Bonnie Brae is Woodglen Lake, built by the County and the Department of Agriculture in 1981-82. A flood control area, the 15 acre lake and 42 acre park, lies between Bonnie Brae and Middleridge. Bonnie Brae access to the lake is provided from Fireside Court.

The lake was stocked in 1982 and is popular with walkers, joggers, boaters, and fishermen. Ducks and geese have also found a home at the lake.


Original owners Elizey Dencales and Robert Carter, Jr. received this land by grant from Lord Fairfax’s proprietorship in 1729. Robert Carter owned 10% of all of the land in Fairfax County.

Click here to learn more about the Carter family in Colonial Virginia.

Before 1970, Bonnie Brae’s land was held for farming. Tracing ownership of the land, you’ll find your land was owned in 1965 by Mrs. Nellie White, whose home was located where we have the Bonnie Brae School today. Before then, there were a half dozen family names as land was transferred by sale or inheritance.

Sideburn Road is named for the Burnside family who owned much of this land 100 years ago. 


Fairfax County was created from part of Prince William County in 1742. Braddock Road was here in 1745. The land was so wooded, it was said a sailor could smell the pine trees 180 miles out to sea. We are fortunate to be a community of mature trees.

Rural but forward thinking, Virginia developed a constitution before the Revolutionary War, which anticipated the future so well that it remained in effect until 1820.

The land was not well managed. Tobacco was grown everywhere, and the land became so depleted it was selling at a loss by 1829 for $2 per acre. The land was restored to productivity by Yankees who had new ideas about fertilizing and crop rotation. Sheep were brought in to munch the briars, which infested the area.

Archaeologists have found spear points near this site that are approximately 12,000 years old. When Captain John Smith sailed up the Potomac in 1608 in search of good land for colonists, the Algonquian tribe lived on this land. The natives grew tobacco and soon this became the major crop of the colonists.

Hundreds of years of history can’t be reduced to a few pages. Fairfax County libraries carry a prepared history written in the 1970’s.

Many interesting tidbits may be discovered, including:

  • Bailey’s Crossroads was named after the partner in Barnum and Bailey’s Circus
  • Rolling Road was used for rolling hogsheads of tobacco from the farm to the docks
  • Fairfax City’s name was Providence until 1875.


From the time of Bonnie Brae Civic Association’s first newsletter on November 26, 1973, many valuable and fun accomplishments were recorded. Here are some highlights of past activities.

The Civic Association arranged regular meetings with our county supervisors and with county representatives who led discussions on items of interest such as proposed changes in zoning master plans.

BBCA supported the effort to make gas heat available when electric heating costs soared, obtained street lights, organized and supported Neighborhood Watch, organized a Milky Spore application for yards to reduce infestation of Japanese Beetles and argued with the telephone company about costs to call nearby Maryland locations. Civic associations can accomplish many things that would be difficult for individuals.

The Association was successful in preventing development and construction in our area such as the huge high-voltage towers Vepco wanted to place east of Aylor Road. Hearings were held to prevent a reduction of bus service to the area. And, BBCA supported the closing of the railroad crossing on Sideburn Road.

In addition, the Board has had more street lights installed, has built two beautiful signs to identify our neighborhood, begun a Youth Council, awarded scholarships to residents of our community for their outstanding achievements in high school, and strives to keep our community safe, clean, and a desirable place to live.


Today, BBCA continues to accomplish many things for our community. Our civic association belongs to the Braddock District Council, which provides useful information about our immediate area and the county as a whole. A representative attends meetings three times per year where we get first-hand information on items that are before the Board of Supervisors, items that are important to the Braddock District.

The BBCA also supports regular community activities such as National Night-Out, Halloween, and New Neighbor Welcome parties Easter Egg Hunt, Visit from Santa, etc. These activities are intended to build a supportive community and make Bonnie Brae a wonderful place to live and raise our families.

Look for notification of events with signs, flyers, newsletter, NextDoor, and Facebook [Bonnie Brae Fairfax VA]. Please join us!