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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Faith Lutheran Church


The charter members of Faith Lutheran Church were mostly worshipers from the DeMotte area who were attending St. John's Lutheran Church in Parr.

The DeMotte members of St. John's held a momentous meeting on September 8, 1957. A group met in the vacant building owned by the First Christian Reformed. The decision was made at that meeting to chart a new course and start a Lutheran Church in DeMotte.

Since the building they were meeting in was for sale, the group decided to purchase the building for the $8,000 asking price and proceed from there.

A second meeting was held October 13, 1957 which was attended by Dr. Walter Birkner, then Mission Director of the Central Indiana District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Also present was Rev. Eric A. Storm, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church of Parr. Rev. Storm had been giving guidance to the group.

With the approval of Dr. Birkner, the members decided to begin a new mission church to be named Faith Lutheran Church of DeMotte and to appoint Rev. Storm as the first pastor of the new church. The name for the church was proposed by Helen Melchert.

On December 28, 1957, the group met again and elected church officers. The first officers of the church were: Herman Heimlich - president; Robert Bormann - vice president; Ray Hixon - recording secretary; Al Melchert - treasurer; Francis Duggins - financial secretary. Trustees were: James Curtiss, Gus Bormann and Howard Turner. Deacons selected were: Walter Bormann, Harold Raguse and Albert Dase. Herman Heimlich also served as the first Sunday School superintendent.


On January 5, 1958, a dedication service was held with Dr. Birkner as the guest speaker. About 200 guests attended the service. The offerings of the day and the previous offerings of the new congregation was enough to purchase hymnals, altar parements, altar and lectern materials, the pulpit Bible and chairs and tables for the Sunday School.

Fifty-two communicant members of' St. John's were released to form the new church and regular services began the second Sunday in January, 1958 with Sunday School starting at 8 a.m. On February 13, 1958, the Ladies of Faith held their first meeting.

Over the years Faith Lutheran experienced much growth and in 1977 the church members saw a potential need for a new building. Their foresight led them to purchase 18 acres of land just south of 1200 N on SR 10 for $85,000. Keeping five acres for the future church, they sub-divided the other 13 acres into 27 lots and sold 26 of them. The other lot was reserved for a future parsonage.

Nineteen years later members of Faith built a new church on that property. The seating capacity is approximately 250 in the sanctuary.

The education wing has nine classrooms and provides preschool for approximately 18 children. The fellowship hall has a capacity of 225 with a small stage on the west end for programs.

The members of Faith Lutheran feel themselves fortunate to utilize not only the talents of their own congregation but the talents of the Laborers for Christ who provided constant source of supervision and a labor force at a minimal cost during construction. The new building was dedicated June 9, 1996.


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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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