Local History
and Such

DeMotte, Indiana History 1997

30 Years of Growth
100 Years of Tradition


Foreword & Acknowledgement

Before the White Man/Coming of the First Settlers

DeMotte Grows into a Town

Early Transportation & Farming

The First Schools

Dredging of the Grand Kankakee Marsh

Leonard Swart (Interview)

Casper Belstra (Interview)

Northern Indiana Land Company

The Halleck Telephone Company

DeMotte Mercantile Company

DeMotte Library Grows

Cheever's Garage

Eighty Years of Community Banking

Fairchild & Tanner History

Earl Schwanke Article

Keener Township Fire Department

(Art) Lageveen Looks Back

Fire Almost Destroys DeMotte in 1936

Kankakee Valley Post-News

Asparagus & Truck Farming

Businessmen's Association

Lageveen Remembers Incorporation

Belstra Remembers When...

Kankakee Valley Schools

DeMotte Elementary School

(DeMotte) Christian School

Mark L. DeMotte

Charlie Halleck

Walter Roorda, State Representative


Van Keppel Construction Company

Fire Destroys Main Building at Kaper's

The Hamstra Group

DeMotte Historical Society

Tysen's Family Food Center

Belstra Milling

The Fire of 1992

United Methodist Church

DeMotte Christian Church

Community Bible Church

Calvary Assembly of God

Bethel Christian Reformed Church

First Christian Reformed Church

Faith Lutheran Church

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

United Pentecostal

First Reformed Church

American Reformed Church

DeMotte Town Court

Incorporation of DeMotte

August 10 Incorporation Hearing

September 1965 Incorporation

First Town Board Election

The First Town Board

DeMotte Town Council 1969-1997

DeMotte Town Hall

DeMotte Park Board

Wastewater Treatment Begins

DeMotte Chamber of Commerce

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On the 30th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of DeMotte, the Chamber of Commerce decided that it was time to recompile the pictures and documents of the history of DeMotte.

This at first may seem inappropriate for an organization that is dedicated to promoting the business and industrial growth of our community. We are usually looking forward not backward, but we also know why DeMotte is such a great community in which to live, raise a family and to own a business.

So on this 30th anniversary let's take time to sit back and remember that it is our Christian tradition, hard work and volunteerism, that has made this community great. Speaking of volunteers I must thank everyone for the hundreds of hours of work put into this book.

Sit back, remember, and enjoy.

Jack Fagen,
DeMotte Chamber of Commerce



It is practically impossible to record accurate historical data after the fact, although every attempt has been made to do so in this booklet. Providing pictures and/or information or help in other ways were: The DeMotte Class of 1952, Albert K. (Bud) Belstra, Arthur Belstra, Marlene Beedle, Mark Boer, Fred Boissy, Lynn Daughtery, Donald Goetz, Georgia Dyrcz, Carol Eenigenburg, Dick & Irene Evans, Fred Evans, Jack Fagen, Donald Fieldhouse, Wilbert Hamstra, Robert Kaper, Jr., Sam Kingma, Josephine Klicek, Carol & John Klip, Pat Kopanda, Arthur & Donna Lageveen, Glen Otto, Audrey Nordstom, Karen Retzlaff, Jeanette Roorda, Robert Schlarp, Alice Swanson, Arthur Terborg, Laverne Terpstra, Amy Trimble, Evelyn Tysen, Ivan Van Essen, Gerrit Van Keppel, Terry Schultz, Mary Van Soest, Leonard & Catherine Swart, Carol Werner, Joan Whitaker for editing and writing the articles, and Shirley Zeck for her many hours of proofing and correcting copy. We apologize if we have inadvertently left out any person who contributed to this booklet because every contribution was appreciated.

We thank various people in the churches for providing information and their church booklets which were used to write many of the articles about the various churches.

We are grateful to the DeMotte Library staff for providing us with copies of the transcribed interviews which had previously been taped with Casper Belstra, Dan Tanner and Leonard Swart.

A special thank you to Evelyn Roorda and the writers of the booklets, "DeMotte 1876-1976" and "DeMotte History 1800-1979", from which much information was gleaned.

Without the overwhelming support of the business people in the community, this undertaking would not have been possible.

And finally, we would like to thank the early settlers of the DeMotte community, their descendants, and all the other persons who have made this town their home. Each can take pride in their accomplishments. We should all remember that the benefits of living in DeMotte are the direct result of the efforts invested by those who have come before us.

The Historical Committee of the DeMotte Chamber of Commerce:
Mike Hinde
Sally Snow
Earl Walton



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Historical and Community Content

NEW!! DeMotte, Indiana History (1997)

New project: American Life Histories, Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
      (This will be an ongoing project with entries added frequently.)

Churches in DeMotte, Indiana

City Methodist - Gary's Sacred Ruin
     Selections from 1967 City Methodist Church Directory (January 2004)
     Historic Gary Church Set for Wrecking Ball (June, 2005)
     Aerial Photos of City Methodist (August, 2005)

Photographs of Historic Places in Jasper County, Indiana
     Jasper County Courthouse  (February, 2002)
     Rensselaer Carnegie Library (February, 2002)
     St. Joseph Indian Normal School (Drexel Hall) (February, 2002)
     Independence Methodist Church (October, 2002)
     Fountain Park Chautauqua (October, 2002)
     Remington Water Tower (February, 2005)

Memorial to Victims of Flight 4184 (February, 2002)

Lake Michigan Vistas (May, 2002)

Door Prairie Auto Museum (LaPorte, Indiana) (September, 2002)

Northwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene former Campground (San Pierre, Lomax Station)
     Aerial Photos of former Campground (August, 2005)

Who's Who In the District (Northern Indiana Church of the Nazarene, 1939-40)

Nazarene Album (Northern Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, 1934)

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