Keokuk Union Depot Foundation Receives $50,000 Historic Preservation Grant

KEOKUK — The Keokuk Union Depot Foundation has received a $50,000 grant to restore the exterior masonry of the Depot’s waiting room section.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced the award as one of 10 historic preservation grants awarded for fiscal year 2023 through the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Historic Resource Development Program.

The estimated $258,000 project addresses structural issues and will return exterior stonework to the original color scheme of the 1891 Keokuk Union Depot, designed by famed Chicago architectural firm Burnham & Root.

All sandstone window sills and groundwater cover slabs will be restored or replaced. The deteriorated sandstone mud sill below grade will be replaced with more durable, less porous reddish brown granite and moisture resistant flashings that will stop rising damp and preserve the brick walls from groundwater.

The brick walls will be repointed or rebuilt if necessary and cleaned. The decorative terracotta floral lintels surrounding several doors and windows will be restored and cleaned.

The HRDP Waiting Room Exterior Masonry Project is a component of the 2020 Jeffris Family Foundation Challenge Grant fundraising campaign, which will also restore the wayside canopy, reconstruct the original floor of the marble and tiled waiting room, restore the deteriorated interior masonry of the waiting room, install period lighting, and improve the sanitary facilities.

Donations to the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation through June 30, 2023 are eligible to win the $275,000 Jeffris match towards the $825,000 fundraiser.

About 200 donors gave a total of $310,178 last July for the $550,000 walking fund needed to win the Jeffris Grant.

Donations to the foundation can be sent to PO Box 463, Keokuk, IA 52632.

The waiting room exterior masonry project will be carried out in parallel with the similar exterior masonry restoration project on the central tower section of the Depot which is the subject of a 2021 Rural Heritage Revitalization grant awarded to the town of Keokuk through the National Park Service and administered by the Iowa State Historical Society.

Upon completion of both projects, two-thirds of the Depot’s exterior masonry will have been restored.

This article originally appeared on The Hawk Eye: Keokuk Union Depot receives grant from Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

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