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DeMotte Historical Society Celebrates 20 Years in 2017

Photo of red train caboose parked next to yellow train depot.

On Jan. 2, 1997 a group of individuals with the same passion for preserving the history of DeMotte held their first organizational meeting.  The first board members were Donna Lageveen, Jack Hart, Kathleen Van Der Molen, Norman Chappell, Irene Evans, Robert Cheever and George Konovsky.

The many members of this new organization had a vision and over the last 20 years it has come to fruition.

The first objective was to find a place to use as a museum to display the town’s history.  In 1998, working with the town, they were able to obtain the original DeMotte Train Depot and have it moved to it’s current place in Spencer Park near the DeMotte Town Hall.  After much renovation, it opened its doors on June 15, 2001 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.

The next major accomplishment was the purchase of a caboose in 2002 from Terre Haute, IN.  Again, after much renovation, the caboose was ready to be moved to Spencer Park next to the Depot Museum.  The caboose was dedicated on October 18, 2003 with a ribbon cutting and color guard assembly by the DeMotte American Legion.

The DeMotte Historical Society has authored two books.  ‘The Settling of the Grand Marsh of the Kankakee River’ and ‘The Great Depression and World War II Era.’

They have had many families and school children visit and the children are always amazed at the history inside the museum and caboose.

The DeMotte Historical Society invites you to stop in at the Depot Museum on Saturdays from 9am-noon and visit, browse and relive how our relatives and neighbors lived and helped to make this area a great place in which to live.