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Keokuk Depot Restoration Continues

The upcoming winter months will not stop the ongoing work at the former Keokuk Union Depot.

The historic building along the Mississippi River was in pretty bad shape when the city acquired it nearly two years ago.

Supporters did not sit back and wait, though, to raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to properly restore the depot.

Instead, they started working on it one project at a time.

Much of the work has been done by volunteers like Steve Celania, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Keokuk Union Depot Commission.

He said some important projects are underway at the moment.

“We have crews working on the platform.  The platforms were in bad shape… (due to) a lot of traffic over the years… they should not have been on the platform but they were.  (The platform) is getting straightened out and broken bricks replaced.  We are also working on the windows… and on finalizing the heat in our building.”

Celania said the depot’s roof has been watertight for about one year.  He said that was the top priority as soon as the building was acquired.

“It’s all at least patched,” said Celania.  “We did find more damage than we anticipated early on and we had to replace some soffit, but it is worth it, it looks nice.”

The next “big” project is the replacement of the roof.

Celania says volunteers have donated more than 3,300 hours to the project in 2012.  He says they are on-site Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

Tours are also available at those times.  Passenger rail service along Keokuk’s riverfront came to an end in 1967.