MICHIGAN HISTORY: 91st Anniversary of the Bath School Massacre
With all the school shootings in the past decades, no school tragedy can match the 1927 Bath School Massacre, which is still considered to be the worst & largest mass murder in Michigan AND our entire country’s history. May 18, 2018 to be exact – marks the 91st anniversary of this tragedy.
58 people – children and adults – perished at the whim of Andrew Kehoe, who was a local farmer and, not coincidentally, the school board treasurer. For awhile, neighbors noticed something dark was happening to Kehoe – he was letting his property decline and seemed suicidal. Kehoe woke up extremely angry on the morning of May 18th, 1927 due to his increasing money problems, his wife’s medical condition and losing the local election for township clerk.
Unbeknownst to his friends and neighbors, Kehoe had stored explosives under his house and the elementary school…..AND had killed his ill wife hours earlier.
At 8:45am, he blew up his house with so many explosives, the blast destroyed other buildings surrounding his land. Seconds later, the explosives went off at Bath Elementary School’s north wing, killing 36 children and two teachers.
But he had more up his sleeve.
Kehoe had MORE explosives rigged…he drove to the school and waited for rescue workers to begin searching for survivors; when they began their search, Kehoe ignited time bombs, killing the rescuers.
And STILL more…the vehicle he drove to the scene was filled with more explosives; he used his rifle to set off the dynamite in his car, killing him, bystanders and the school superintendent, bringing the total body count to 58 (or 59, if you include the earlier murder of his wife), with 38 of the victims being children.
Investigators discovered 500 pounds of undetonated explosives that Kehoe had set on the school grounds, in Kehoe’s attempt to destroy the entire school.
Nowadays there is an historical marker with the names of all the ones who lost their lives in the massacre at The Bath Consolidated School Memorial Park / James Couzens Agricultural School Memorial Park. Also at the park is a cupola, the one sole piece of the original schoolhouse that was preserved.
Pay a visit someday soon…