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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DeMotte Town Hall


In 1969, the DeMotte Town Board discussed buying the old DeMotte Legion building for a town hall. The building was located along the railroad track on 8th Street SE and the board had been holding their monthly meetings there. Then word spread that the DeMotte State Bank was planning to build a totally new facility and the old bank building would be coming up for sale before long.

The board held a public hearing on whether or not to buy the bank building in December, 1971. Since there were no unfavorable comments at that time they decided to purchase the building for the asking price of $5,000.

During the years from 1972-1995 when the town hall was located downtown, it also housed the DeMotte Police department and DeMotte Town court. There were small remodeling jobs done to the building over the years but nothing major.

The area had grown so much during the 1970's and 80's that it became apparent that either a major renovation would have to take place or a new town hall built.

With the renovations being considered that would also meet the American with Disabilities Act requirements, remodeling costs would run between $300,000 to $320,000.

DeMotte Town Hall and Police Officers

In January, 1994 plans were submitted to the board for a new town hall and police department to be built at the Spencer Park location. The board decided new construction was the best route to go and a new building corporation was formed. The five members appointed to the DeMotte Town Hall Building corporation were: Mark VanderMolen, Jody Melton, Tom Carr, Tom Post and Carolyn Davidson.

In July, Hamstra Builders was awarded the bid to construct the facility and bonds were sold in the amount of $520,000 to be repaid in 17 years.


After the building was completed the cupola looked bare, so a large clock was ordered and installed to give the building a finished appearance. An open house was held April 8, 1995. The old town hall on Halleck Street was sold to H & R Block for $59,569 in 1995.

All town board business is conducted at the new town hall. The police department, park department, planning and zoning commission business, sewer department, court and a small space for the DeMotte Chamber of Commerce are all located in Spencer Park under one roof.


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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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