The Bonnycastle neighborhood is named after John and Harriett Bonnycastle, landowners of the 19th century Walnut Grove estate where the neighborhood exists today. The Walnut Grove estate had a two-story brick mansion and 150 acres of land bordered by Bardstown Road, Eastern Parkway, Speed Avenue and included a portion of today’s Cherokee Park. John and Harriett Bonnycastle moved into the Walnut Grove mansion in 1868 and raised their nine children on the estate.
The Bonnycastles began subdividing portions of the Walnut Grove estate in the late 1800s and sold parcels to prospective homebuilders. In 1906, the Bonnycastle family sold the Walnut Grove mansion and the remaining parcels of land from the estate. Most of the homes in the Bonnycastle neighborhood were built in the early 1900s, although a few subdivisions were added in the mid-1950s. The Commodore apartment complex, a National Historic Landmark and the neighborhood’s tallest building at 11 stories, was built in 1928.
The Bonnycastle family was also philanthropic and donated a potion of the Walnut Grove estate, in the late 1800s, to the City of Louisville for the development of a community park. The City of Louisville hired Frederick Law Olmstead in 1891 and used the donated Bonnycastle land in the design and creation of Cherokee Park. Cherokee Park is one of the neighborhood’s greatest assets and is widely used today.