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
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Bethel Christian Reformed
Plans for the Bethel Christian Reformed
Church began in November, 1964 when a decision was made by the consistory
and congregation of the First Christian Reformed Church in DeMotte to
'organize a second Christian Reformed congregation when it is feasible.'
In December, 1964 the consistory of First Christian recommended buying the
Nick Zylstra property on U.S. 231 for $20,000. About two years later a
petition was circulated among the congregation to be signed by those
interested in forming a second Christian Reformed Church in DeMotte.
In October, 1967, a committee was formed to appear before the First
Christian Reformed Consistory to formally request the consistory and
Classis Illiana to grant approval for the formation of the second church.
With that approval, the soon to be named Bethel Christian Reformed Church
came into being. At the same time, members of the First Christian Reformed
Church pledged $50,000 towards construction of the new church.
On May 6, 1968, First Christian Reformed transferred a total of 196 people
to the new, yet unnamed church.
The first elected consistory for Bethel Christian Reformed Church included
Elders: James Recker, Lawrence Post, Walter Roorda, James Coffer and
Deacons: Daniel Nannenga, Theodore Hoeksta, Nelson Eylander and Robert Van
The first Congregational Meeting was held on November 18, 1968 and the
approved budget for 1969 was $14,085 or $313 per family.
After leaving First Christian, two organizational years
were spent at the DeMotte Christian School getting organized and starting
construction of the Bethel Reformed Church. From June 9, 1968 to May 10,
1970, the group worshipped in the large hallway in the oldest section of
the Christian School. They used classrooms and members homes for planning
sessions, Society meetings, Sunday School, Catechism and all the other
activities necessary in maintaining a growing congregation plus overseeing
and setting up the new building.
$200,000 brick structure was decided upon using a design by Dan Vos, a
noted church builder from Michigan. It was deemed good stewardship to use
Vos' standardized plans for trusses, benches, windows, etc. Bethel was
designed to serve a congregation of about 165 families.
Two committees that met often during the organizational years were the
Pastoral Search Committee and the Building Committee. The congregation had
also voted to purchase a parsonage a block west of the church.
At the first Worship Service held at Bethel Reformed Church music was
provided on a Hammond organ donated by one of the members until such a
time as the church could afford to get its own.
Members look back on the early years at Bethel as a time of total
involvement for both young and old.