Keokuk Arches Not Historic Enough?

Keokuk, IA – Leah Rogers with Tallgrass Historians (Iowa City, IA) studied the site March 2. She also spent time speaking with local residents and conducting research at the Keokuk Public Library.

Rogers has presented her findings to the State Historical Society of Iowa and to the city.

The double basement at 528 Main Street includes two large vaults and 16 brick arches.

Rogers says the underground brick arches and vaults would probably not qualify for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. She says the reason is that they were likely built for storage.

Rogers says the site could still be a contributing factor to a potential Keokuk Main Street District. Such a district was deemed eligible for the national register several years ago.

Rogers says the contributing status could come whether the site is open to the public or filled with sand or dirt. She says restoration and/or stabilization funding could be available for the site.

Rogers' report also questions the possible presence of a giant tunnel that runs beneath Main Street.

The Keokuk City Council has yet to decide whether supporters should have 3 years to try to restore the property.