Join the Campaign to Restore the Depot's Roof!

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 2016. To register your support, click here
to download a pledge form. For more information, visit the "Depot 125" Capital Campaign page.

Recent and Upcoming Events for the Depot

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.

  • Friday, June 13, 7:00 p.m. — "The River Runs Deep: The Mississippi in Song" by Dean Klinkenberg, the "Mississippi Valley Traveler." Admission by donation to benefit the Depot restoration effort.
  • Saturday, August 2, 7:00-10:00 p.m. — "Rockin' the Rails," Keokuk Musicians' Concert. Suggested donation $5.00-10.00.
  • Thursday, September 11, 5:30 p.m. — "Depot 125" Capital Campaign Launch. Special presentations at the Depot.
  • Saturday, September 13, 8:00 p.m. — Carol Montag in Concert. Admission $10.00.
  • Saturday, October 4, 5:00 p.m. — Oktoberfest at the Depot, sponsored by Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Friday, October 17, 7:30 p.m. — Chuck Mitchell in Concert. Admission $10.00.
  • Saturday, October 25, 10:00 a.m. — Auction at the Depot to benefit the "Depot 125" Capital Campaign. To donate items, phone 319-470-0328.
  • Saturday, November 1, 7:00 p.m. — Will Whitmore Concert at the Depot to benefit Rollin' on the River Bluesfest. Admission $12.00 at the door.
  • Saturday, December 6, 7:30 p.m. — Midwestern Christmas Concert by Switchback with Martin McCormack and Brian FitzGerald. Admission charge of $15.00 includes dessert and coffee, or bring a beverage of choice.

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.)

Before shopping online, go to www.2ClickFundraising.com and look for the Keokuk
Union Depot Foundation
link. Your purchase will help raise funds for the Depot.

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 will serve

The Depot viewed from Bridge
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.

Depot open house, April 2011
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.

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
James Kisor, Treasurer

Douglas Clippert
Michael Hickey
Megan McNeill

Depot souvenir items
Depot souvenir mugs, T-shirts and caps are available. Proceeds
go toward the rehabilitation effort. For information on how
to obtain these items, visit the Depot Foundation page.

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 319-520-8830 319-524-1221 217-440-6615  

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.