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 Library grows


The original DeMotte Library was established by the DeMotte Business and Professional Women's Club in the early 1960's during the presidency of Mrs. Viola Stocker.

The building which housed the first library was located just north of the railroad tracks. The club members worked diligently to put up shelving and the borrowed books and periodicals they had on hand to lend to others. The library was also served by the Jasper County Bookmobile which was provided through a contractual agreement with the Rensselaer Library.

In 1972 the Bookmobile was no longer going to serve the area but the contractual agreement with the Rensselaer Library continued. A storefront building was rented in the middle of the downtown area in DeMotte and a branch library was set up to serve the town.

In 1977 the DeMotte Junior Woman's Club carried petitions to the DeMotte townspeople to secure signatures for the approval of the purchase (by the newly formed Jasper County Library Board) of the building which formerly housed St. Cecilia's Catholic Church. The board received approval from the Jasper County Council to purchase the building and the DeMotte Branch Library entered a new phase in its history.

DeMotte Library before renovating and the new additionThe library grew so much that more room was sorely needed. In 1991 a building and remodeling project was begun which utilized the former 4,800 square foot building. To this was added 12,500 more square feet creating a 17,300 full-service facility designed to serve the community for years to come.

The library building, which was completed in 1992, features room for substantial growth of both print and non-print collections and ample areas for quiet study. It is completely accessible to persons with disabilities.


Other features include loans of large print books, magazines, VHS cassettes, records, compact discs and books on audiocassettes.

Photocopying and FAX machine services are also available at the library and a typewriter and computer are available to the public.

An automated circulation and online catalog system links all branches (Wheatfield and DeMotte) with the headquarters library at Rensselaer.

The library expansion also brought expanded services. A wide variety of programs are offered at the library for all ages.

An active Friends of the Library was started in 1974 and continues to this day.


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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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