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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American Reformed Church


(The following article has been written and edited by Joan Whitaker from information gleaned from a booklet printed in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the American Reformed Church.)

In February 1920, H.C. DeKock approached the consistory of Holland Church (known today as the First Reformed Church at Dutch Corners) about having one of the two Sunday services in English instead of both in the Dutch language.

DeKock, along with other members, felt the young people could not understand the Dutch language and were not able to understand the Psalms they were singing. The consistory was not sympathetic to the one English - one Dutch service. DeKock and Anthony Moolenaar asked to appear before the Spring Classis in Chicago. They wanted to present their case in English but were told only Dutch was spoken in the classis meetings.

The classis appointed a committee to meet with the DeMotte congregation. DeKock again made his plea for one English speaking service but this was denied. The committee then decided to ask the classis Committee to give permission to organize an English-speaking church in DeMotte. The majority vote was, "Let them go", and the American Reformed Church became a reality.

Early picture of American Reformed ChurchOn Sunday, October 10, 1920, the first services of the newly organized church were held in February,1921. In May, Rev. Peter Swart was called to serve as pastor of the new church and the same month the basement was started. It was finished in September, 1921 at a cost of $4,000. The inscription over the door reads, "He that Seeketh, Findeth," was dedicated to the Lord upon completion of the basement. Church services were held there until a new building was added.

Rev. Swart spent much of 1934 planning the new superstructure over the basement, but died before it became a reality in 1935.

The church has over a dozen organizations involved in the Lord's work, plus several choirs are organized involving all ages in the church.


The first Ladies Aid was organized March 10, 1936 with 29 members. The officers elected were: Mrs. Ed DeVries - president; Mrs. Art Lageveen, vice-president; and Mrs. Henry Swart - secretary/treasurer.

In 1960 a new brick ranch parsonage was built that sets beside the church. The former parsonage and garage were removed from the grounds.

In March 1968, the property known as Kingmas' Grove on West Division Street was bought by the American Reformed Church, and First Reformed Church, as a possible site for a third Reformed Church in the future. In the 1995 the land was donated to the Retirement Center Committee and in 1997 the Oak Grove Retirement Village will be built on the site. The village will provide skilled nursing home care and assisted living units.

The church has been remodeled several times and major additions have taken place since those early years. The present total square footage of the church is approximately 26,500. The church has grown from 23 families in 1920 to 143 families in 1954. Today there are nearly 300 families who call the American Reformed Church their home church.


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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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