Foreword & Acknowledgement
Before the White Man/Coming of the
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
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
Lageveen Remembers Incorporation
Belstra Remembers When...
Kankakee Valley Schools
DeMotte Elementary School
(DeMotte) Christian School
Mark L. DeMotte
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
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
St. Cecilia Catholic Church
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
local history books about your town
or search Amazon.com
Eighty years of Community
The Bank of DeMotte, today known as the
DeMotte State Bank, was first chartered 80 years ago in 1917. The ground
for the first bank building was purchased from John Bunning and was
located just south of the railroad on what is now Halleck Street.
The bank started out as a privately owned bank with $10,000 in assets and
two officers, president John Bunning and cashier, John J. DeCook. There
were five shareholders, Daniel Wolf, Frank M. Hart, Albert Konovsky, Henry
C. DeKock and Ate L. Lageveen.
When the stock market crashed in 1929 the U.S. Government ordered that all
banks be closed. The Bank of DeMotte was closed for only one day and was
one of the few in existence to survive the crash. Due to the intervention
of August Schultz and stockholders who contributed their resources to keep
the bank open, the bank rallied and remained solvent through the Great
Depression that engulfed the country during the next ten years.
The Report of Condition of the Bank of DeMotte as of October 26, 1933
lists Frank M. Hart, bank president; A. Crawford, vice president; Harry
Rathburn, cashier; Frank M. Hart, Jr., assistant cashier. The resources
and liabilities of the bank at that time totaled $114,582.97.
bank was robbed in 1937 at machine-gun point by three men who escaped with
$2,422.32. Hart wasn't able to get the safety catch off of a gun that was
kept at the bank at the time or, "I would have shot the son-of-a-gun," he
was quoted as saying. The trio were later caught and prosecuted and all
losses were covered by insurance.
With the advent of World War II the country began to prosper again. The
war effort put everybody back to work and there were sweeping changes in
the laws governing banking institutions.
In 1942 the United States Government ordered all banks to be chartered by
the state in which they were located and stringent government regulations
were put in place. The bank was again chartered, this time as the DeMotte
State Bank. The board of directors were: Henry Swart, president of the
bank from 1942 until 1959; August Schultz, Cornelius Westerhoff, Henry C.
DeKock, Otto DeYoung, Albert Hamstra and Andress Crawford. Westerhoff
became bank president in 1959 and remained in that capacity until 1966.
In the early days of banking, transactions were recorded by hand in ledger
books. It wasn't unusual for the bank when it first opened in 1917 to have
less than 10 transactions a day. In 1997 the bank uses state-of-the-art
computer equipment and electronically processes around 30,000 items every
day. DeMotte State Bank became the second bank in the state of Indiana to
offer 'Image' DDA statements and was one of the first twenty in the nation
to offer this in 1994.
During the 1960's the DeMotte community experienced
much growth and it became apparent that a larger facility with drive-up
windows would be needed. Paul Bauman, bank president from 1966 to 1983,
steered the bank through the growth period of the 70's. In 1971 the board
of directors paved the way for a new building to be constructed at 210
South Halleck Street and the bank was moved from its location in the old
downtown part of DeMotte. Since that time DeMotte has experienced
unbelievable growth, as has the bank. The building has been added on to
four times. Additionally in 1994 a 4,000 square foot 'Operations Center'
was constructed which houses the bark's computer equipment. The new center
also made room for a remodeling project in the back office area of the
main bank which provided a more private environment for new account
former bank building was sold to the Town of DeMotte and was used as a
town hall and police station from 1971 to 1995 when a new town hall was
built at the Spencer Park location.
Since the 1937 robbery, the bank was robbed again in 1971 after they moved
to their new facility. The robbers got away with a considerable amount of
money and were never apprehended. In 1996 a robbery attempt was thwarted
by bank employees.
Prior to deregulation in the late 1970's, banks were permitted to offer
only a narrow range of products which were limited to non-interest bearing
accounts, savings passbooks and a four year certificate of deposit. After
deregulation a wide array of services and products could be offered to
customers and banking has practically become a science.
Not only did the bank have to deal with deregulation and the high interest
rate environment of the 80's, it also was faced with the change in banking
structure. 'Hometown' banks were originally protected by law in that a
bank from another community could not branch into an area where a main
office bank was located. In the early 1980's this protection was lifted
and banks were allowed to branch into towns within counties that were
contiguous to where their main office was located. Donnie R. Morrison was
bank president from 1983 to 1988 during these tumultuous years of upheaval
in the banking industry.
1985 Senate Bill-1 was passed. The bill allowed out of state banks to
purchase Indiana based banks. According to Donald E. Goetz, who became
bank president in 1988 and is still at the bank in that capacity in 1997,
the banking industry has experienced tremendous consolidation under the
guise of economies of scale due to Senate Bill-1. During that time,
according to Goetz, the Board of Directors of the DeMotte State Bank felt
that there would be no economies of scale experienced & decided it was in
the best interest of the shareholders & customers of the bank to remain a
locally owned & operated institution.
They further realized that in order to be competitive, the bank needed to
expand into other markets. During that period the bank opened offices in
the following markets: purchased Morocco State Bank in 1987; opened an
office in Lowell in 1991; purchased an office in Knox, 1992; opened a
mini-branch near Wheatfield, 1995; and purchased an office in Hebron from
NBD Indiana. The bank also currently has four ATM locations.
In the early 1980's DeMotte State Bank was billed as the 'Bank of Firsts'.
The bank offered Jasper County its first Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)
and package checking account. The bank brought extended hours to the
marketplace in 1981 by extending traditional bank closing hours from 3
p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Also starting in 1981, customers were first able to bank
in DeMotte twelve hours a day during the week and nine hours a day on
Saturday with the opening of its' first mini-branch located in Tysen's
Family Food Center in DeMotte. Today, according to Goetz, that branch
handles a large percentage of the DeMotte market's transactions.
From two employees and $10,000 in assets in 1917 to over 100 employees and
$155 million in assets in 1997, the DeMotte State Bank is proof positive
that their motto, 'Dream it, together we can achieve it', has had true
meaning, not only for their customers but for the bank as well.