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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Belstra Milling


Belstra Milling began in 1954 as an offshoot of the feed and lumber business owned by Cornelius (Neil) Kaper. Albert K. (Bud) Belstra had come home from World War II with an offer of a job from Kaper and since jobs weren't that easy to find in those days he thought he had better take it.

As Kaper became more interested in lumber and Bud became more interested in feed, he decided to sell the feed business to Belstra. The business was located in the former Fagen Home Health Care building which was purchased by ConvaCare in 1995. Pillsbury feed was the brand of feed Kaper had sold. In 1960, Bud bought Paul Bauman's mill by the railroad tracks on the east end of DeMotte. This purchase enabled Belstra to sell Purina, which became Belstra Milling's main brand when Pillsbury decided to get out of the feed business in the late 1950's. Bud continued with Purina until 1969 when he started making his own feed under a private label called Action Feeds.

Belstra Milling CompanyAlso during the time he operated the two mills, Bud promoted layer houses, which enabled the feeding of 6,000 to 10,000 chickens in cages. This was the coming wave as to the way they are fed today.

At the time, about half of Belstra Milling's market consisted of feed for chickens, feed for hogs made up the other half. As Belstra Milling entered the 1970's and 1980's, more focus was put on swine. Now in the 1990's about 90 percent of the tonnage sold at the mill is swine feeds. The business continues to produce its own feed under the label Bud initiated.


Tim and Max Belstra, sons of Bud, assumed ownership of the business in 1987 when their father retired.

The continued growth of Belstra Milling over the years caused Bud to close the two original sites in the downtown area and by the tracks and build a totally new facility on what is now 15th Street.

Tim and Max added on more office and warehouse space in 1990. The firm employs about 14 people.


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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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