WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Keokuk Depot Project Reaches Fundraising Milestone

Feb 2, 2018

The effort to restore the Keokuk Union Depot has crossed a major milestone. The depot'a foundation announced this week that it has exceeded its goal for a capital campaign to restore the building's roof.

Janet Smith, KUD Foundation President, said the goal was to raise $1,250,000. She said 3 ½ years later, the final fundraising tally for the campaign came in at $1,275,744.

“It is really gratifying to see the community response,” said Smith. “Over 400 individuals contributed to the project. Local banks and businesses also contributed and there were several local foundations that had a great impact on our fundraising efforts.”

Smith noted the significance of an early contribution from the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin. She said that organization pledged $333,000 in June 2014 if the KUD foundation could raise $667,000 locally, a figure it reached in 2016.

“They were instrumental in kicking off our campaign,” said Smith. “Everyone bought into it with such an enthusiasm."

Smith said there are still a few more tiles to be installed before the roof is considered complete. The project has included:

  • Restoration of the chimney to its original height
  • Reinforcement of the central tower base
  • Installation of lightning protection on the central tower
  • Restoration of all eaves, soffits, and brackets, including structural reinforcement of the brackets.

Smith said because of the success of the capital campaign, the overall restoration project is about three years ahead of schedule. She said the KUD Foundation and the KUD Commission plan to take some time in 2018 and determine the next big project.

One option is to renovate a baggage claim room inside the more than 125-year-old depot into a caterer’s kitchen, to make it easier for food to be served during wedding receptions or class reunions.

“People have wonderful memories of the depot,” said Smith. “It has really been a team effort. The fondness of memories of people traveling through the depot, it was just an amazing response.”