Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Station

Also known as: Burlington Depot, Amtrak Station
300 S Main St., Burlington, Iowa

Streamline design station, clad with Wisconsin Lannon Stone, built in 1943 and still in use



The depot is located just a few yards from the Mississippi River and suffered major damage when inundated by floods in 1993 and 2008. The city bought the station from the Burlington Northern in 1994 and a Friends of the Station group was founded to help with restoration and maintenance.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in October 2013



Street View 


According to the Amtrak website, the Burlington depot was erected in 1944 by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, or CB&Q, replacing an earlier station that had been destroyed by fire in January 1943. Today, the depot serves both Amtrak passengers and Burlington Urban Services, the local bus system. Amtrak does not staff the station and there are no ticket sales or baggage handling.

The depot was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Holabird and Root, utilizing the streamlined mid-century modern aesthetic that became popular in the Art Deco era.

Like many American railroads, the CB&Q experienced tremendous passenger growth during World War II that it hoped to retain in the post-war years. With intense competition for passenger service, in 1934, the CB&Q began service with streamlined, stainless-steel, articulated trains known as the Zephyrs. The most famous of the trains was known as the California Zephyr that was actually slower than other passenger service between Chicago and San Francisco, but the California Zephyr was successful because of breathtaking scenery offered by the Rocky Mountain crossing. The California Zephyr continues as one of Amtrak's most popular passenger trains.

The Burlington Depot's streamlined styling and contemporary finishes reflected the Zephyr fleet and the forward thinking of the CB&Q. The dedication ceremony held on March 28, 1944. The second story was used for CB&Q operations and provided rest areas for crews relaxing between shifts.

After the war, passenger traffic began to dwindle with the growth of the airlines, automobiles and improved highways. Zephyr service continued until the advent of Amtrak in 1971 but the name, California Zephyr, is still used by Amtrak.

Eventually, the CB&Q was absorbed into the Burlington Northern but the railroad's namesake city continues to reflect its pride in the history and tradition from the Golden Era of Railroading.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 4, 2002
Reference number
Architectural style
Modern Movement: Moderne
Areas of significance
Transportation; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Rail-related; Road-related
Current functions
Rail-related; Road-related
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant year

Update Log 

  • April 10, 2017: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • November 3, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Decription and Added Photos