Join the Campaign to Restore the Depot's Roof!
Join the "Depot 125 Club" and help us start the complete roof project by the Depot's 125th anniversary, July 2016.
(This project is supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Resource Development Program.)
Everyone who makes a new donation of $125 or more to the "Depot 125 Club" after November 1, 2015 (additional
to any previous pledges or gifts) becomes a charter member of this special group of Depot supporters.
Read the letter from Depot Foundation president Janet Smith describing the project,
and click here to download the "Depot 125 Club" contribution form.
(For a fillable PDF form, click here.)
The Jeffris Family Foundation has awarded a $333,000 one-third matching grant toward the $1 million cost
of restoring the Depot's clay tile roof and central tower. The Keokuk Union Depot Foundation must raise
the remaining $667,000 by mid-2017, and hopefully by the Depot's 125th anniversary in July 2016.
For more information, visit the "Depot 125" Capital Campaign page.
Recent and Upcoming Events at the Depot
(Upcoming public events are in bold type.)
Funds raised through events at the Depot will count toward the Jeffris Family Foundation
2-for-1 match to earn the $333,000 grant for restoration of the Depot roof.
- Saturday, September 19, 2015 — Class Reunion (Private)
- Sunday, September 26, 2015 — Wedding (Private)
- Saturday, October 3, 2015 — Wedding (Private)
- Saturday, October 10, 2015 — Keokuk High School Class of 1955 Brunch (Private)
- Friday, October 23, 2015 — Great River Players Performance and Fundraiser
- Saturday, October 24, 2015 — Great River Players Performance and Fundraiser
- Saturday, November 7, 2015 — Wedding (Private)
- Thursday, November 26, 2015 — Family Thanksgiving Celebration (Private)
- Saturday, November 28, 2015 — Wedding (Private)
- Saturday, December 5, 2015, 12-4 p.m. — Keokuk Area Hospital Tour of Homes (Depot Included)
- Saturday, December 5, 2015, 7:30 p.m. — Switchback Concert
- Thursday, December 24, 2015 — Family Event (Private)
- Saturday, December 26, 2015 — Family Celebration (Private)
- Thursday, December 31, 2015 — Family New Year Celebration (Private)
- Saturday, February 20, 2016 — Wedding (Private)
- Thursday, April 14, 2016, 1:30 p.m. — D.A.R. Tour of Depot
- Friday, May 20, 2016 — Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (Private)
- Saturday, May 28, 2016 — Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (Private)
- Saturday, July 23, 2016 — Wedding (Private)
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.)
You can 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.)
Please note that all donations received by September 30, 2017 will count toward the Jeffris Family
Foundation 2-for-1 match to earn the $333,000 grant for restoration of the Depot roof.
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.
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.
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 will serve
The Depot viewed from the Mississippi River bridge,
showing rail trackage. Photo by John Miller
as a basis for returning the Depot as close as possible to its 1891 appearance, including replacing the current shingled roof with clay tiles and rebuilding the central peaked tower, which was leveled off in the late 1940s.
Tour group at Depot open house, April 2011. 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, and has secured a matching grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation toward the $1 million cost of restoring the roof — a necessary first step in preserving the building. Although some of the rehabilitation work thus far 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.
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
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:
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.