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 Post subject: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:46 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:40 pm
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Location: Hamilton, Illinois
When the City of Keokuk took possession of the Keokuk Union Depot from Pioneer Railcorp in 2011, the original double-sided waiting room benches had been removed. This photo of one of them, in the Depot, was taken by David Steele in 2004 (from his Flickr site).

In 2017, retired CB&Q-BN-BNSF employee Archie Hayden of Hannibal, Missouri, donated several single-sided depot benches from his collection to the Keokuk Union Depot. Volunteers reconditioned them to their original appearance, and positioned them along the walls of the waiting room where they will not interfere with use of the Depot for community and private events. While not original furnishings with the Keokuk Depot, they are representative of the era of this 1891 structure.

Earlier in 2019 the original double-sided benches were rediscovered in the Pioneer Railcorp shop at LaHarpe, Illinois, and were returned to the Depot. They remain in storage pending a plan for their eventual use or disposition. They are too large and heavy, in their present configuration, to be placed in the waiting room which is a community event center requiring an open space (for concerts, weddings, dinners, reunions, etc.). However, it is good to have these original fixtures back in the Depot's possession.

These double-sided waiting room benches were probably a "stock" item from some company that made furniture for railroad stations in the 1890s or early 1900s. If anyone has further information about such firms, or catalogs of what they offered, we might be able to locate the original source of these benches.


Attachments:
Waiting Room Benches in 2004 (David_Steele, Flickr).jpg
Waiting Room Benches in 2004 (David_Steele, Flickr).jpg [ 80.74 KiB | Viewed 1256 times ]
Bench Donated by Archie Hayden, 2017 -1.jpg
Bench Donated by Archie Hayden, 2017 -1.jpg [ 159.59 KiB | Viewed 1256 times ]
Bench Donated by Archie Hayden, 2017 -2.jpg
Bench Donated by Archie Hayden, 2017 -2.jpg [ 153.62 KiB | Viewed 1256 times ]
Original Benches Returned to Keokuk in 2019.jpg
Original Benches Returned to Keokuk in 2019.jpg [ 118.51 KiB | Viewed 1256 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:54 am
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Location: Califoothills / Midwest Prairies / PNW
I have an idea to try out: a pair of hand-operated pallet jacks, with some spacer blocks and a crew of two, might be an easy way to cart around these benches. Of course, there needs to be some place to put them out of the way for your events, and that might be another challenge. I guess making a bench from plywood that is sectional and stack-able is other way to make a portable bench for your space. It's great that you got the originals back, and good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:36 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Illinois
Thanks for the idea. Our volunteers are adept at making things like you suggest. As for the pallet jacks, to remove the heavy original benches from the waiting room for an event would require moving them outside (onto the platform) and then back inside to, perhaps, one of the former express rooms. There is only a narrow door into the rest of the building from the waiting room. The volunteers have an idea for splitting a double-sided bench longitudinally, in such a way that it could be reassembled into its original configuration. Of course, that would alter the original artifact. So for the moment the disposition of those benches is on hold.

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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:12 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:09 pm
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Try to research A.H. Andrews Co. from Chicago. I think I have seen similar benches that may have been manufactured by them. A very quick search indicates they were a furniture maker big into school desks and other. At least it may be a lead to follow.


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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
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I would maintain them as original and move them as suggested with pallet jacks or dollies, they are part of the original fabric of the station. Who knows, someday the depot might function as an actual train station again and you would want them available.


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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:21 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
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rlsteam wrote:
Thanks for the idea. Our volunteers are adept at making things like you suggest. As for the pallet jacks, to remove the heavy original benches from the waiting room for an event would require moving them outside (onto the platform) and then back inside to, perhaps, one of the former express rooms. There is only a narrow door into the rest of the building from the waiting room. The volunteers have an idea for splitting a double-sided bench longitudinally, in such a way that it could be reassembled into its original configuration. Of course, that would alter the original artifact. So for the moment the disposition of those benches is on hold.


You've probably thought of this, but would they fit through that narrow door if they were tipped up 90 degrees and shoehorned through? If so your idea of a cradle could be built to handle the benches on their side, so to speak.

Brian

Someone who has helped folks move too many times.


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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
Do not split the double sided benches. When I was at TVRM, we generally moved the waiting room benches (all double sided) on to the platforms when waxing the tile floor. We used standard bottle jacks and shop dollies-enough dollies that we could leave the benches on them rather than reusing them.

You would need to pull supply catalogs to see if your benches were made by a supply company or the railroad. Waiting room benches would not be difficult for any decent railroad to make themselves back in the day.

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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:42 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, Illinois
The problem with keeping the double-sided benches in the waiting room is that they take up space needed for chairs for concerts, tables for wedding rehearsal dinners, kiosks for art or craft exhibits, etc. The Depot is a community event center (see sign). Our volunteers are not all spry or in the best of health, so it would be hard for them to move the heavy benches back and forth.


Attachments:
New Depot Sign_2019.jpg
New Depot Sign_2019.jpg [ 143.45 KiB | Viewed 754 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Keokuk Union Depot -- Saga of Waiting Room Benches
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
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Well if nothing else keep them in storage, not everything has to be used or disposed of right now.


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