Local History
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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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DeMotte Mercantile Company


(The following article was contributed by Art Lageveen.)

The DeMotte Mercantile Company must have been established in the early 1900's. It was purchased by H.C. DeKock about that time.

His daughter, Josina worked in the store starting at the age of 13. Later she married Art Lageveen and continued working at the store. They became my parents.

My father drove a U.S. Mail truck to Chicago for a time and worked part time at the store where they continued to build up the inventory and sales.

After a time, my parents purchased the store from Mr. DeKock. It was located in the south part of the building now occupied by Holley's Restaurant.

DeMotte Mercantile - Art Lageveen, Sr. and wife, JosinaIn 1936 most of buildings on the west side of the street burned but were quickly replaced with better, more modern buildings. The store was known as Lageveen Department Store. After I returned from service in the U.S. Army, we decided to build the present building. It is located on the east side of the street in the original downtown business district at 821 S. Halleck Street.


The business had grown into a small department store. We sold clothing for all the family, shoes, boots, housewares, paint, drug sundries, toys in the basement, everything the community needed.

Lageveen Department Store - 1938As new stores opened north of town, sales declined. It was about 1976 that the store went out of business. I then turned it into a mini-mall, renting out spaces to a beauty shop, used clothing, church, fabric shop, offices, etc.

It was after the fabric shop moved out that I decided to open a consignment shop. I offered free pick up for furniture and I would sell it for the customer, splitting the proceeds in half. This idea worked very well and the business has continued to grow. New furniture has been added, both in-stock items and special order.

At this point in time, the name DeMotte Mercantile Company is still carried on our checks and has celebrated over 90 years of service to the community.


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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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