Progress Report for the Second Half of 2016

Read the Depot Foundation Secretary's report for the second half of 2016, listing donors to the Capital Campaign and detailing progress on the roof restoration project. (Opens as a PDF file in a separate window.)

Join the Campaign to Complete the Depot's Roof Restoration!

In 2014 the Jeffris Family Foundation awarded a $333,000 one-third matching grant toward the estimated $1 million cost of restoring the Depot's clay tile roof and central tower. By the Depot's 125th anniversary in July 2016 it was evident that the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation would achieve the remaining $667,000. The State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Resource Development Program has also supported this project with significant grants. Consequently, work commenced on reconstruction of the Depot's central tower in the summer of 2016.

The capital campaign has continued into 2017 because additional funds must be raised to address needs that have came to light during the restoration work. This letter from Depot Foundation president Janet M. Smith explains the need to continue the Capital Campaign. Click here to download the Capital Campaign pledge form. (For a fillable PDF form, click here.) For more information visit the "Depot 125" Capital Campaign page.

Rent the Depot for your community, group, or family activity! Phone Debra Marion, 319-520-8830 for information
and available dates. Click here to view the Depot Rental Agreement. (PDF file opens in a separate window.)

Recent and Upcoming Events at the Depot

(Upcoming public events are in bold type.)
Funds raised through events at the Depot support the Capital Campaign for restoration of the Depot roof.

  • Friday, September 15, 2017, 7:00 p.m. — Nalani Proctor Concert.
  • Saturday, September 16, 2017 — Keokuk High School Class of 1962 Reunion (Private)
  • Friday, October 6, 2017 — Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (Private)
  • Saturday, October 7, 2017 — Wedding (Private)
  • Saturday, November 25, 2017 — Reception (Private)
  • Friday, December 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m. — Switchback Christmas Concert. Tickets $20.00 at door, open at 6:30. Proceeds benefit Depot roof restoration project.
  • Friday, December 8, 2017 — Retirement Party (Private)
  • Sunday, December 10, 2017 — Birthday Party (Private)
  • Wednesday, December 27, 2017 — 50th Anniversary Celebration (Private)
  • Sunday, December 31, 2017 — Wedding (Private)
  • Saturday, February 3, 2018 — Birthday Party (Private)
  • Saturday, May 12, 2018 — Graduation Party (Private)
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 — Graduation Party (Private)
  • Sunday, May 20, 2018 — Graduation Party (Private)
  • Saturday, July 21, 2018 — Open House (Private)
  • Saturday, October 20, 2018 — Wedding (Private)
Visit the Depot Gift Shoppe!

You may also support the Depot by registering with Amazon Smile. Once you set up "Keokuk Union Depot Foundation"
as recipient of your donations, a percentage of every Amazon purchase benefits the Depot capital campaign. Then
change your Amazon bookmark(s) to go to Amazon Smile and it will appear just like your regular Amazon page.
(Don't forget to do this with every browser you use, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.)

Preserving the Historic Keokuk Union Depot

In 2011 the City of Keokuk, Iowa, acquired the Keokuk Union Depot from Pioneer Railcorp for the purpose of historic preservation and community use. and leased the associated real estate for 99 years. Erected in 1891, the building was designed by the Chicago architectural firm Burnham and Root. It is notable as one of John Root's last designs for public buildings in his distinctive Romanesque Revival style. Thereafter, with Root's death in 1891, architectural design in North America took a different turn.

How You Can Help

  • To volunteer to help with preservation activities, email the Depot Commission.
  • To donate funds to the preservation effort, visit the Depot Foundation page.
  • Or write to Keokuk Union Depot, P.O. Box 463, Keokuk, IA 52632.

Depot waiting room
The Depot waiting room in August 2012. Photo by Richard Leonard

Architectural features of the Depot include Root's characteristic use of earth tones, arched windows and high-pitched roofline; the interior features an oak-paneled waiting room and octagonal ticket booth. For the history of the Keokuk Union Depot visit our History page.

The Depot is located at Johnson and South Water Streets, between the Mississippi River and the limestone bluff along its west bank, and fronts on rail trackage used by BNSF Railway and the Keokuk Junction Railway (part of the Pioneer Railcorp system). The site is a block down-river from the US-136 highway bridge between Hamilton, Illinois and Keokuk.

National Register of Historic Places Plaque
This bronze plaque records the Depot's listing on the National
Register of Historic Places. Photo by Richard Leonard

The City of Keokuk established the Union Depot Commission to oversee the project of preservation and conversion to end use, principally as a space for community activities. An intern from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago developed an architectural study eventuating in the Depot's being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Register is maintained by the National Park Service.

Restoric LLC, a Chicago firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures completed a thorough architectural study in 2012 and produced a 180-page Historic Structure Report. The plans drawn up from this document form the basis for returning the Depot as closely as possible to its

The Depot viewed from Bridge, 2014
The Depot in March 2014, before roof restoration was begun,
as seen from the Mississippi River bridge. Photo by John Miller

1891 appearance, including replacing the deteriorated shingled roof with clay tiles and rebuilding the central peaked tower, which was leveled off in the late 1940s.

The Depot viewed from Bridge, 2016
The Depot in December 2016, showing progress in reconstruction
and tiling of the central tower. Photo by Richard Leonard

The Keokuk Union Depot Commission administers the preservation project as part of Keokuk's larger Riverfront Development Master Plan. However, no municipal tax funds are to be used for Depot rehabilitation. A separate Keokuk Union Depot Foundation, a tax-exempt charitable organization, was established in 2012 to raise the necessary funds from grants and private sources. The Foundation secured a matching grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation toward the $1 million cost of restoring the roof — the initial phase in preserving the building. Although major rehabilitation work has been contracted, particularly roof and masonry repairs, much work has been done by volunteers. For updates on the restoration effort, visit our Preservation Activity page.

Depot Commission Meeting
The Keokuk Union Depot Commission meeting at
the Depot, August 2014. Photo by Richard Leonard

Keokuk Union Depot Commission

Debra Marion, President
Stephen Celania, Vice-President
Thomas Seabold, Secretary
Sandra Seabold, Treasurer

Douglas Clippert
Michael Hickey
Megan McNeill

Depot souvenir items
Depot gift and souvenir items are available. Proceeds
go toward the restoration effort. To purchase
these items, visit the Depot Gift Shoppe.

Do you have a memory of the Keokuk Union Depot, or an old photo? Email it to the Depot Commission.

If volunteers are not present when you visit the Depot, phone one of these numbers to arrange a tour:

  319-795-4887 (S. Celania) 319-520-8830 (D. Marion) 319-524-1221 (S. Siebold) 217-440-6615 (R. Leonard)  

Postcard View of Keokuk Union Depot from South
This postcard from 1923 depicts the Depot from the south (down-river) side, with the baggage carts that were in use when passenger trains served Keokuk.