Bunny McKenzie – Island Icon

Written by the Coronado Historical Association

Bunny McKenzie in front of the moving of the Windsor Cottage

This article was originally published in the February Issue of Coronado Magazine. To read the article and more from Coronado Magazine, click here or the button below.


The eldest of four children, Bunny Olson was born in Coronado in 1912. She was reared in a simpler, slower Coronado where walking was the mode of travel, airplanes had propellers (and wing walkers), and the largest structure on the island was a hotel on the beach. As a young student at the Hotel Del’s Beach School (located on the sand between the hotel and the Pacific Ocean) she demonstrated early on a fascination for the history of the island and for stories told to her by teachers and family elders.

Bunny studied early childhood development at Whittier College. As WWI and II came and went, she returned home and in short order recognized the needs of a multitude of Navy mothers on the island. Miss Bunny’s Pre-school was born in the garden of her family home in 1935.

In 1938 she was swept off her feet by a charming Scotsman named Charles MacKenzie. That same year her pre-school moved to a larger facility on the corner of Fourth Street and Orange Avenue where she operated it for 50 years. Today thousands of adults look back fondly at their time with Miss Bunny.

A prolific writer, Bunny was the historical editor of Coronado Bridge & Bay Magazine from 1972-1984 and was a contributor to Coronado’s primary history books Coronado We Remember and Coronado: The Enchanted Island.

In 1968, with the pending demise of the Coronado ferry boats (and opening of the Bridge), Bunny put on her preservationist hat and organized the “Committee of 1886”—so named for the year Coronado’s first ferryboat went into service. The committee was established in an effort to preserve one of the last remaining ferryboats as a historical monument.

That committee was unsuccessful in saving the ferry, however, the group evolved into the Coronado Historical Association in1969. Bunny was the founding President.

The two most important things in her life were children and history. She was labeled early on as “Coronado’s Historian Emeritus,” a title of which she was very proud. Coronado lost Miss Bunny in 2003, at the age of 90, but her passion for history has been successfully passed down through generations. Today, researchers and professionals continue to carry the torch, sharing their findings with new and diverse audiences.


This article was originally published in the February Issue of Coronado Magazine. To read the article and more from Coronado Magazine, click here or the button below.


More photos of Bunny McKenzie:

McKenzie on the Coronado Historical Association cart in the 4th of July Parade

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