Keokuk committee forms foundation to restore old train depot

Bricks from the rebuilt platform

After decades of inactivity, residents of the Keokuk community are taking action to revamp the Keokuk Union Depot. A group of residents formed a commission and now a foundation to raise money for the fixing up process.

The Keokuk Union Depot opened doors in 1891. More than one hundred years later it sits unused and slowly decaying.

In the spring of 2011, a committee of residents joined together, looking to take on a project that would restore the former train depot to its original glory.

The Keokuk Union Depot Commission is responsible for putting the station back together. This commission was formed after the city purchased the lot.

"The previous owner wanted to demolish the building and that was a process that the city didn't want to happen and some interested individuals didn't want to happen either. It is a beautiful building and we just wanted to save it," Vice President of the commission Steve Celania said.

Within the last few months, the commission created the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation. With this foundation, they will be able to receive grants easily.

"We get asked all the time now, when is that depot going to be done. I just hope it's finished in my lifetime. I don't know how long it will take us. It depends on what type of grant and funding opportunities there are out there," President of the commission Debbie Marion said.

The city of Keokuk does not supply funds for the reconstruction project. Before the foundation was formed, the commission raised more than 80 thousand dollars from private donations and grant money.

Ten to twelve volunteers work on the reconstruction project three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.