Recent and Upcoming Events for the Depot

  • Saturday, January 19, 2013, 8:00–11:00 p.m. — Ben Cordes, Traditional Blues Guitarist
    Co-sponspored with Rollin' on the River
  • Friday, February 8, 2013, 8:00 p.m. — "Switchback," American Roots Music Blended with Celtic Soul
    Co-sponsored with Keokuk Cultural and Entertainment District
  • June 28-30, 2013 — Depot open to visitors during 100th Anniversary of the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam and Power Plant.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2013 — Questers Art and Antique Auction to benefit the Depot.
  • Friday, December 20, 2013, 7:00 p.m. — "Christmas at the Depot" by the Great River Players.
  • Friday, June 13, 2014, 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, December 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m. — Midwestern Christmas Concert with "Switchback." Admission charge of $12.00 includes dessert and coffee, or bring a beverage of choice.

The Depot is registered with Your purchases through many firms will now help to
raise money for the Depot. Before shopping online, go to and
look for the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation link, and start shopping! Or before
shopping online, go to and start shopping!

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

Preserving the Historic Keokuk Union Depot

In 2011 the City of Keokuk, Iowa, leased the Keokuk Union Depot for 99 years from Pioneer Railcorp for the purpose of historic preservation and community use. Erected in 1891, the building was designed by the Chicago architectural firm Burnham and Root. It is notable as one of Root's last designs for public buildings in his distinctive Romanesque Revival style, with its characteristic use of earth tones. 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 the oak-paneled waiting room, octagonal ticket booth, and Romanesque arched windows and doorways. 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, for which a number of possibilities are under consideration. 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. A firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures completed a thorough architectural study in 2012.  The plans drawn up from this

The Depot viewed from Bridge
The Depot viewed from the Mississippi River bridge,
showing rail trackage. Photo by John Miller

study will serve as a basis for returning the Depot as close as possible to its 1891 appearance, including replacing the current shingled roof with tiles.

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. Although some of the rehabilitation work thus far has been contracted, particularly roof and masonry repairs, most 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, May 2012. Photo by Richard Leonard

Keokuk Union Depot Commission

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

Charles Abell
Douglas Clippert
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 old postcard depicts the Depot from the south (downriver) side, with the baggage carts that were in use when passenger trains served Keokuk.
Image from Rob Adams.