Local History
and Such

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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Bethel Christian Reformed Church


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 Meerten.

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.

Groundbreaking Ceremony, Bethel Christian Reformed ChurchA $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.


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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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