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.)

Recent Grants to the Depot Restoration Effort

On May 1, 2017, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced a grant of $5000 to the Keokuk Union Depot
Foundation, to be invested in the ongpoing work of restoring the Depot's roof. Click here to read their grant announcement.

On May 8, 2017, the Tom E. Dailey Foundation, Inc. of Chicago announced
a grant of $1000 toward the current phase of the roof restoration project.

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 continues into 2017 because additional funds must be raised to address needs that 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.)

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.)

"Depot 125" Capital Campaign

Celebrating the Keokuk Union Depot's 125th Anniversary, July 2016

The Keokuk Union Depot Foundation, together with the Keokuk Union Depot Commission, is undertaking to restore the Keokuk Union Depot to its original 1891 design, while adapting the building to serve the community in a manner consistent with both historic preservation standards and contemporary requirements for public use. To guide the restoration process Restoric LLC, a Chicago firm specializing in restoration of historic buildings, has prepared a detailed Historic Structure Report.

For Information About the Depot

The first major step in this process is replacement of the deteriorated shingled roof with clay tiles similar to those used in the original construction, together with restoration of the peaked central tower which was leveled off around 1950. The cost to complete this undertaking is estimated at approximately $1.25 million.

The <i>Mark Twain Zephyr</i> at Keokuk, 1949
The northbound Mark Twain Zephyr at Keokuk in 1949, shortly before the
central tower was leveled and the tile roof was replaced by shingles.
Photo by Charles Franzen; Rob Adams Collection

Developing the Funding

In 2014 the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin awarded a grant of $333,000 toward restoration of the Depot roof. (The Jeffris Family Foundation focuses on preservation and restoration of structures of significant historic and architectural value in the Midwest.) To earn this grant, the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation was allowed three years to raise a 2-for-1 match of $667,000.

By the Depot's 125th anniversary in July 2016, the attainment of the goal was assured and work on restoring the central tower and tile roof began. Substantial grants for specific phases of the project from the Iowa Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) have also been instrumental in accelerating the pace of the restoration by enabling work on the building's eaves and reconstruction of the apex. Grants by local foundations and community groups have also greatly aided the project, but the largest segment of support has come from individuals who share the vision for preservation of this community resource.

The Dwell Magazine Award and Video

On March 8, 2012, Dwell Magazine, a San Francisco architectural publication, announced that Dwell Magazinethe Keokuk Union Depot was the winner of the $10,000 "Rethinking Preservation" award sponsored by SubZero. The Depot topped a list of 118 entries on behalf of architectural landmarks. Christen Sundquist Martin, architectural intern from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, entered the Depot in the competition because of its distinction as one of the few remaining depots designed by Burnham and Root. School students from the Keokuk area were instrumental in swelling the vote total for the Depot.

A team from Dwell visited Keokuk in May 2012 and created a five-minute video, Preserving the Keokuk Union Depot. An article on the project appeared in the October 2012 issue of Dwell. The Dwell award underwrote the Historic Structure Report that guides ongoing restoration efforts.

Because of needs that have come to light during the first major phase of roof restoration, the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation's current capital campaign is being extended into 2017 with the goal of raising $250,000 in addition to the $1 million already raised.

Why is restoring the Depot important?

The Keokuk Union Depot was designed by the renowned Chicago firm of Burnham & Root, architects of the famed Chicago "White City" for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. The Depot is one of the few remaining examples of John Wellborn Root's Romanesque revival style of public architecture; notably, few of his railroad stations are extant.

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 Keokuk edifice is recognized as architecturally significant by state and national historians, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restoring the original roofline and clay tile roofing are the most crucial steps toward recovering the elegant aesthetic effect of the Depot, as well as preserving the building as a whole. Subsequent projects include restoration of the platform "train shed" and the adaptive re-use of interior spaces to serve the needs of the community.

Pledge Toward the Capital Campaign

Click here to download a form to to use in sending
your pledge to the "Depot 125" capital campaign.
(For a fillable form, click here.)

Give to the Campaign Via PayPal

Or mail your gift to: Keokuk Union Depot,
P.O. Box 463, Keokuk, IA 52632.
The Keokuk Union Depot Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
charitable organization; gifts are tax-deductible.

Model of the Restored Depot
This model of the restored Depot was created by Christen and
Matthew Martin of Restoric LLC. Photo by Richard Leonard

Christen and Matthew Martin, of Restoric LLC, created this model of the restored Depot now displayed at various locations in Keokuk to raise awareness of the Depot project. To learn how the Martins designed and assembled the model, read Christen's article in the February 2016 issue of the Keokuk Confluence (opens as a PDF file in a new window).

Keokuk Union Depot Foundation

Janet Smith, President
David Morgan, Vice President
Robert Woodburn, Secretary
Sandra Seabold, Treasurer

Joyce Glasscock
Richard Leonard
Debra Marion
Mary Jo Scheetz

Keokuk Union Depot Logo

Resources on This Site

Visit the Depot Gift Shoppe!

Rendering of the future restored Depot, by Matthew Martin of Restoric LLC
Matthew Martin of Restoric LLC produced this rendering of the future restored Depot. Click here for a larger image.