Today Is The 91st Anniversary Of The Deadliest School Massacre In Michigan And United States History
The town of Bath, Michigan is the home to the United State's worst school massacre in history.
On May 18, 1927, the Bath Consolidated School was rocked by a massive explosion, killing 38 people instantly, and injuring dozens more. The man who committed this atrocity was a 55-year-old electrical engineer named Andrew Kehoe. After months and months of planning the attack, Andrew Kehoe had detonated hundreds of pounds of dynamite in the basement of the Bath Consolidated School.
That wasn't the end of Kehoe's massacre, though. Kehoe would claim more victims before ultimately killing himself in one final explosion outside of the school as victims looked on in horror at the demolished school.
Kehoe graduated from Michigan State University with an electrical engineering degree and moved to St. Louis to work before eventually resettling to Bath, Michigan in 1912 and marrying his wife, Nellie Price. He and his wife purchased a farm from Nellie's Aunt just outside of the town of Bath.
Kehoe sat on the township school board as the treasurer and in 1922, when the Bath Consolidated School opened, he grew very unhappy with the fiscal management of the township.
The opening of the consolidated school meant that students from all over the region had a place to learn under one roof, but that meant higher property taxes for the residents of Bath Township. He fought against the taxes and the new school system, and was appointed as the Bath Township Clerk in 1925. From that position he continued to fight, with no success and was eventually replaced as Clerk the following year after losing a public election. In Kehoe's mind, this would be the final slight against him by the residents of Bath Township.
Starting in the fall of 1926, Kehoe started to make trips to Lansing to stock up on dynamite. The trips were no cause for concern, because it was quite common for farmers to purchase dynamite at the time. After months of trips, Kehoe had gathered hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of dynamite.
It is still a bit of a mystery as to how he got all of the explosives into the school, because he would have to have made many trips into the school to set up all of the dynamite. Many believed he had an accomplice, but no one was ever identified as the accomplice.
Kehoe wired the explosives to detonate on a timer and at 9:45am the first explosions went off.
Meanwhile, Kehoe had murdered his wife and burnt down his farm, which was now in foreclosure due to missed mortgage payments. He then filled his truck with even more explosives and traveled to the Bath Consolidated School. Upon arrival he found victims looking on in horror at the crumbling building. Kehoe drove into the parking lot near the superintendent of the school and detonated the dynamite in his truck, killing himself and 4 other people.
After everything was said and done, Kehoe had killed 45 people and injured 58 more (mostly children) in the attack. Authorities found about 500 more pounds of explosives in the basement of the building which had not been set off due to faulty wiring. To this day, the Bath Consolidated School bombing is the worst attack on a school in United States History.
After reconstruction, the school resumed class in the Fall of 1927. In 1975 the school was demolished and in 1991 a monument was erected to those who were killed in the attack.
Click On Detroit did a fantastic write up on the massacre and included some links to interviews with survivors. If you want to learn more, I suggest reading that article. Most of the facts from this article were sourced from that article as well as Andrew Kehoe's wikipedia page and the Bath School Disaster wikipedia page.