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Excerpts from links mentioning the Bath School Disaster
picture of school after explosion

Other Links:
An initial search turned up no links dedicated to the Bath School Disaster (thus the reason for this page), but some more searching revealed it as being mentioned in the following links. They came from google.com and yahoo.com

Historical/Travel:

  • From The Daily Bleed
    1927 -- US: Bath, Michigan School Disaster. Andrew Kehoe, seeking revenge against the community for taxes imposed on his farm to pay for a new school, set off a TNT bomb in the school, killing 43 people, including 39 grade-school children. After the explosion, Kehoe killed his wife, then drove his truck back, loaded with dynamite & nails, to the school, & set it off, killing himself & the school superintendent.

    (Not quite right - Nellie died the day before or the morning of the explosion.)

  • From a Millenial site
    Top 10 Mass Murders of the Pseudo-Millennium

    05. Andrew Kehoe (45) The first mad bomber in U.S. soil, on May 18, 1927, Andy blew up a school in Bath, Michigan, killing 45 people, 37 of them children. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent.

  • The Athens (GA) Banner-Herald mentions
    "'maniac dynamiter' Andrew Kehoe, who blew up a schoolhouse in Bath, Mich., killing 44." Only the headline "Maniac-dynamiter had no help, is official theory" is legible in a picture of the 5/22/27 issue (which also shows Lindbergh's landing taking top billing).
  • From trueamerica.com (now defunct, but an older copy saved here
    Holding a record no one wanted in the first place, and no one wanted to lose, was Bath, where a "demented" ex-janitor bombed the town school. The bronze statue of a schoolgirl was created by Carlton W. Angell in memory of the 40 people killed in the May 18, 1927 disaster, the worst on U.S. soil until the recent tragedy in Oklahoma.
  • From the article "Cast in Stone"
    Pennies from Children

    We like sculpture because it makes us feel civilized. Stone and bronze imbue us with visions of immortality. Cunningham pointed out that before the 60s, our outdoor art was most commonly a man on a horse, someone looking noble.

    But it is not always the noble and grand that memorialize. It can be as simple as a child and a cat.

    In 1927, in what was the worst act of terrorism in the United States until the Oklahoma City bombing, Andrew Kehoe set off dynamite charges at Bath Community Consolidated Schools, killing 37 children and 7 adults. Fifty others were injured.

    The school was rebuilt with donations. Included in the donation were pennies saved up and donated by schoolchildren around the state. Carlton Angell, an art instructor and museum artist at the University of Michigan, was commissioned to memorialize the tragedy. He did so by using the donated pennies.

    The pennies were melted down to create a copper statue - one of a little girl holding a cat with the wind, possibly from the explosion blast, blowing back her hair and dress. The child's grief is found in her eyes and face as the cat hangs limp over her arm. The base of the statue is engraved, "Donated by the Children of Michigan".

    In 1975, the statue was moved to the museum at James Couzens Memorial Auditorium at Bath Middle School.

  • From Unusual Tour of America
    BATH, MICH - In 1927, Andrew Kehoe was a farmer and the treasurer of the school board here in Bath. His 45-year-old wife was ill and his medical bills were mounting. He was on the verge of losing his farm and was stealing money from the school treasury to make ends meet. Two years earlier, he had opposed a tax increase to build a new school in Bath, but the Bath Community Consolidated School was built anyway.

    Early in the morning of May, 18, 1927, Kehoe set in motion a plan he had been working on for months. First, he killed all the fruit trees on his farm. Then he crushed his wife's skull and tied her to a cart. Then he set off dynamite charges that he had placed near his farm buildings. Next, he drove into town and cut the wires to the central telephone office. Kehoe's last stop was the school. Kehoe was sitting in his car when he triggered the dynamite blast that buckled the floors, blew out walls, and lifted off the roof of the north wing of the new school. The force of the explosion sent bodies flying into the schoolyard. The building collapsed inwards, burying many fourth, fifth, and sixth graders and their teachers. When the school superintendent, Emery Huyck ran to Kehoe's car, Kehoe fired a shot into the back seat, which was loaded with explosives. Huyck and Kehoe were killed instantly. 37 Children, and 7 adults were killed, and more than 50 others were injured.

    (I'm not sure about the part about "stealing from the school treasury", and "cut(ting) the wires to the central telephone office".)

  • From a Michigan History mailing list
    From: Bonnie Burkhardt
    Subject: [michigen] Michigan's Disasters Part II of IV
    Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 01:22:35 -0800

    From an article in the Ann Arbor News on December 6, 1999

    To Continue; Remembering Tragedy; Michigan's Disasters Part II

    1927: Terror in a school

    One of the nation's first major terrorist attacks occurred in Michigan on May 18, 1927, when a bomb was set off in a schoolhouse in Bath, killing 38 children and three teachers. Fifty-eight others were injured.

    Andrew KEHOE, a disgruntled taxpayer and Bath farmer, detonated 1,000 pounds of explosives under the newly constructed Bath Consolidated School. After the massacre, KEHOE blew up himself and the school superintendent.

  • From This Day In History, May 18th
    1927 The Bath, Michigan School Disaster. Andrew Kehoe took revenge against the community for taxes imposed on his farm to pay for a new school by setting off a bomb that killed 43 people, including 39 children. Afterward, he also killed his wife and drove his truck, loaded with dynamite and nails, back to the school where he set it off, killing himself and the school superintendent.
  • From County Roads, Bath Twp by Rhonda Westfall, 1999
    County Roads: A journey through Clinton County

    A right-turn onto Clark Road is followed by a quick right onto Main Street as we head toward the downtown area. The brilliant green lawn of the Bath Lions Park draws our attention - as do the monuments and memorials associated with a dark, community scar: the Bath School bombing.

    It was a sunny spring day May 18, 1927, when Andrew P. Kehoe detonated a dynamite charge that destroyed the James Couzens Agricultural School which had been located on the site since 1873. The blast killed 45 students and adults, and injured 58.

    Registered as a Michigan Historic Site in 1992, a piece of history stands at the center of the park - the original cupola from the school survived the blast and was transformed into a memorial by the Bath Township Lions.

  • Back to Bath School Disaster main page

    Crime pages:

  • From THE LITERATURE OF THE AMERICAN SERIAL KILLER

    From AB Bookman's Weekly, May 9, 1988.
    Copyright 1988 by AB Bookman Publications, Inc.
    By Patterson Smith

    The second mass murderer for whom we plead an exception is remarkable in illustrating the vagaries of criminal history. Although I have in my library every conceivable reference work on American crime, nowhere is there mention of one of America's biggest mass killings. This might be understandable if the crime, like that of Hellier, had taken place in the distant past of colonial America, or if no book had been published about it. But the crime took place only sixty years ago and there is a 136-page book on it, albeit a scarce one.

    The book is called The Bath School Disaster (1927). When I first saw a copy, its title suggested to me a fire or tornado; but the disaster was a man-made one, perpetrated by a disaffected psychopath. In Bath, a tiny town outside of Lansing, Michigan, a consolidated school building was built in 1922 which strained the community's financial resources and caused successive increases in local taxes. A property owner named Andrew Kehoe complained bitterly about the school budget, which he considered responsible for increasing the levies on his land. After serving one obstructionist term as a member of the school board, he was defeated for reelection in 1926. One Wednesday morning a year later, half the school building blew up in a terrific explosion triggered by dynamite wired into the building's electric clock. Nearly fifty children were killed and many more injured. Andrew Kehoe had taken revenge on the town of Bath.

    The author of The Bath School Disaster was a near neighbor of Kehoe's named M. J. Ellsworth. His book, bound in printed brown wrappers, tells the grisly story in the unpolished prose of a writer dedicated solely to the goal of accuracy in all details. The many photographs in the book are grimly engrossing. Some are of Kehoe's bombing apparatus; others are of the twisted remains of the automobile which he blew up on a downtown street subsequent to the main explosion, killing himself and several onlookers. Most of the photographs are simple candid shots of children. Some had been taken after the bombing and show the victims lying wounded on hospital beds. Others had been taken before the tragedy and bear the pathetic legend "Dead" under the children's names.

    Such a single act of mass destruction is not in the nature of the serial killer, who gives individual care and attention to each of his victims. And although in numbers he may attain the level of an Andrew Kehoe, he does so through separate acts of violence often spread out over several years.

  • From The Mass Murderer Hit List
    Andrew Kehoe (45) The first mad bomber in U.S. soil, on May 18, 1927, Andy blew up a school in Bath, Michigan, killing 45 people, 37 of them children. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent.

    "I don't remember hearing any noise, but I remember flying in the air and seeing things fly between me and the sun," remembers AdaBelle McGonigal, then 11 and in the fifth grade. "But I don't ever remember falling." AdaBelle's ear was nearly torn off in the blast that killed 38 of her classmates. Seven adults also died that day.

  • From a Sabotage site
    Significant Domestic Acts of Sabotage/Terrorism

    1927: Bath, Michigan

    Michigan entered the picture on May 18, 1927, when a disgruntled taxpayer named Andrew Kehoe, a farmer from Bath, detonated 1,000 pounds of explosives under the newly constructed Bath Consolidated School, killing 38 students and 3 teachers and injuring 58 others. Kehoe then blew himself up, along with the school superintendent. As tragic as that event was, it could have been even worse were it not for the fact that half of the explosives failed to detonate as planned, which certainly would have killed many more students and teachers.

  • From "Schools, bombs, and the Internet" by Jim Krane, 4/25/99
    The most deadly assault on a U.S. school, in fact, was caused by a bomb. According to the History Channel's Website, in 1927, in Bath, Mich., a man angered by property taxes set off a TNT bomb in the school that killed 43 people, including 39 grade-school children.

    (This must have been a temporary story as I couldn't find anything on the History Channel site.

  • From A Murder IQ Test
    12. I wrote, "Criminals are made, not born" on a fence rail and used mass murder as the ultimate tax protest. My only regret is that I didn't get more of those little vermin.__________
    12. Andrew Kehoe in 1927 blew up a school in Bath, near Lansing, MI, because he was angry about a school tax hike.
  • From Crimes of the Century, though I can't view it with Netscape.
    Andrew Kehoe blew up a school in Bath, MI, killing 45 people, 37 of which were children (May 18, 1927)
  • Back to Bath School Disaster main page

    Columbine pages:

  • From a post to an Urban mailing list by Ray Bromley 5/29/99
    The record for the largest mass murder in the Continental United States prior to 1990 is often given to Mr. Andrew Kehoe, a heavily-indebted Michigan farmer, electrician and school board treasurer who resented the school taxes he had had to pay. According to the Encyclopedia of World Crime, Volume III, K-R (Crime Books Inc., Wilmette, IL 1990), on May 18th 1927 Kehoe murdered his wife, blew up his farm, and laid explosives in his car and in the new school in Bath, a farming town 12 miles northeast of Lansing. The school had 300 pupils and teachers, but fortunately a janitor had shut off part of the electrical system, preventing some of Kehoe's dynamite from exploding. Kehoe's explosions killed him, 37 children and 6 other adults, and injured more than 50 other students and teachers.

    (Not sure I buy the bit about a janitor disconnecting part of the system...)

  • A gun lobby discussion site
    (Gun Control discussion board on FreeRepublic.com)
    To: TS2000, ALL - Does anyone have the specific details about the Bath, MI 
    school bombing in the 1930's?  I want to contact MSNBC and tell them that 
    their reporter who keeps claiming the Columbine H.S. school massacre was the
    worse ever in American history is TOTALLY WRONG. 
    
    There were some here on FR who seemed to know the details about that school 
    bombing, perhaps in the 1920's, where 45+ people were killed. If you have any 
    details, please reply to me here. (Thanks in advance.) 
    
    I WILL make that MSNBC contact after I receive this information.
    From: MadAsHell (emailname) *
    04/28/99 11:28:44 PDT  
    
    To: MadAsHell
    Try calling the Bath, Michigan Chamber of Commerce. They may be able to ans. 
    your ques. or refer you to someone who can.
    From: Zcat (emailname) *
    04/28/99 11:45:15 PDT  
    
    (I didn't think Bath _had_ a CoC...)
    
    To: MadAsHell
    There was a article in my Local paper last night refering to the Bombing of the 
    School in Bath, MI. Around the 1920 time frame. I don't remember the total 
    number of deaths. It was a Board Member that was upset about his taxes!!!! 
    From: Area51 (emailname) *
    04/28/99 11:48:54 PDT  
    
    To: ALL
    I found what I needed by doing a Yahoo! search: 
    
    http://www.msp.state.mi.us/division/emd/haz_ann98/sabotage.htm 
    
    1927: Bath, Michigan 
    
    Michigan entered the picture on May 18, 1927, when a disgruntled taxpayer 
    named Andrew Kehoe, a farmer from Bath, detonated 1,000 pounds of explosives 
    under the newly constructed Bath Consolidated School, killing 38 students and 3
    teachers and injuring 58 others. Kehoe then blew himself up, along with the 
    school superintendent. As tragic as that event was, it could have been even 
    worse were it not for the fact that half of the explosives failed to detonate 
    as planned, which certainly would have killed many more students and teachers. 
    From: MadAsHell (emailname) *
    04/28/99 11:57:39 PDT  
    
    To: MadAsHell
    >There were some here on FR who seemed to know the details about that school 
    >bombing, perhaps in the 1920's, where 45+ people were killed. If you have any 
    >details, please reply to me here. (Thanks in advance.) 
    
    Bath Michigan, 1926. Single crazy used a bomb to blow up the school, then 
    killed himself. Can't be more help on details, sorry. Info was posted on 
    Drudge a few days after Littleton. 
    
    From: kAcknor (Klingons on the Internet) *
    04/28/99 11:59:41 PDT  
    
    To: MadAsHell
    Bath, MI tragedy discussed on FreeRepublic thread here. (expired link)
    From: Willie Green (emailname) *
    04/28/99 12:04:20 PDT  
    
  • From another pro-gun site
    LITTLETON BAD, BUT NOT THE WORST SCHOOL MASSACRE

    Despite media claims, Littleton was not America's worst school massacre. The New York Times ran a story saying the Littleton incident was "the largest death toll in an act of terrorism at one of the nation's schools."

    United Press International repeated the error, calling it "The worst school massacre in U.S. history."

    It wasn't. On May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary school students, by dynamite explosions at the Bath, Michigan School. The "maniac bomber" was ANDREW KEHOE, a school board member and farmer. After blowing up the school he killed himself and the Bath School superintendent by blowing up his pickup truck. The Littleton tragedy is bad enough, but the media have lost their fact checking ability in their ghoulish rush to magnify recent events and forget worse past events.

  • From decter.com, 4/22/99
    More on the Denver Shootings --- Dechter

    Well, every news agency and their brother (named Larry) is calling this week's shooting in Colorado "the worst in U.S. history." Thank providence for the level-headed Matt Drudge. I stole this from his Drudge Report so visit there for more information. It's a great, no-nonsense news site. Well worth your lunch hour.

    LITTLETON SCHOOL MASSACRE NOT WORST IN U.S. HISTORY

    A massive error is circulating in the media about Tuesday's Colorado school tragedy: It was not, repeat, not the worst attack on a school in United States history.

    [NEW YORK TIMES: "It was the largest death toll in an act of terrorism at one of the nation's schools." REUTERS: "The country's worst school massacre, in Littleton, Colo." UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL: "The worst school massacre in U.S. history."]

    On May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School.

    After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent.

    "I don't remember hearing any noise, but I remember flying in the air and seeing things fly between me and the sun," remembers AdaBelle McGonigal, then 11 and in the fifth grade. "But I don't ever remember falling."

    AdaBelle's ear was nearly torn off in the blast that killed 38 of her classmates. Seven adults also died that day.

    Because this happened so long ago, it is something that most reporters don't know about and have failed to reference in the coverage of the Littleton, Colorado nightmare.

    (end of Drudge exerpt)

    Now I don't know about you, but this guy really scares me. Not only was he not retaliating for years of name-calling, but he used explosives and not guns. So, this farmer snaps one day and decides to blow up the school? That's waaay out there. Compared to Mr. Kehoe, our boys in Colorado were Saints. Or if not Saints then definitely Popes. And keep this in mind folks: In 1927, there were no video games. There was no Marilyn Manson. There were no vampire websites. Hitler was not a world power. However, like today, there were crazy people. Go ahead Clinton, try to stop the crazy people. Most of them live near you in Washington.

  • From an editorial to the Craig, CO Daily Press, 4/30/99
    Killing
    Individuals choose taking of another's life

    There is much hype surrounding the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Let me say this up front it's a gruesome event that deserves attention from everyone in the nation and efforts to prevent future, similar tragedies.

    What it is not is the worst case of school killings in U.S. history, or, unfortunately the last. Media outlets around the country are dubbing Columbine as "the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history." Through semantic manipulation, that moniker implies it is the worst school killing tragedy in the nation's history.

    It is not.

    The worst, the deadliest killings came before the parents of Columbine High School students were born. The horrific act killed three times the number of Columbine victims. It happened before the availability of guns, especially semi-automatic weapons, was an issue. It happened in a small, rural town. The vile acts were committed by a prominent member of the business and political community. It happened "next door."

    And, it took place during what many people refer to as "the good old days" of American history. It was 1927 in mid-May when Andrew Kehoe blew up a school in Bath, Mich. He murdered 45 people 38 children.

    Who could have guessed this school board treasurer and farmer would detonate explosives from under the school and then blow up his pickup truck, killing himself and the school superintendent.

    He didn't need guns. He didn't need the Internet or some fringe, radical social group. He didn't need reason or circumstance. He acted and snuffed out the lives of dozens of innocent children. Why? The answer holds true to the Columbine murders - no one really knows, or ever will know. Each event is a horrific tragedy that should give pause to the otherwise glib lives of Americans today. Mourn for and support those affected by the killings. Everyone should focus introspectively for a moment and improve personally. Help others do the same.

    But don't go nuts.

    The psychotic decision to massacre people is a part of the human mind and condition man may never understand.

    Social standing, religion, race, creed, color, parental guidance or the lack of any or all, can't be attributed to causing two humans to kill others. The decision to kill, despite the cries of psychobabblologists, is an individual decision. Other factors in life may lead a person toward a decision to kill, but no one is forced to kill. At some point the "cause" is personal. That "cause" for each person that kills can be anything. Whatever it is, it's a conscious decision to do harm. To pinpoint blame is impossible.

    The process of killing to take advantage of others or to gain power for one's position is fundamental to human existence. It can't be legislated away or eliminated from society. In any society an individual of sound or not sound mind can make the decision to kill, and like many other things in life will seek the path of least resistance. Throughout history killing has been accomplished with whatever means is available. In the case of Columbine High School, that path was guns and explosives. In the case of Bath, Mich., 71 years ago it was explosives. All these killings are tragic. Whether they are a sign of more to come or a media-hyped invitation for copycats or a sign of cultural, moral and religious degradation is mere speculation. What can be done to eliminate the possibility of similar, future tragedies is also speculation. Possibly the only way to prevent such horrific acts of violence is for everyone to treat others as equals and as worthwhile members of society let others live their lives as they see fit. But humans haven't accomplished that in thousands of years of existence.

  • From another pro-gun site
    Tidbit of the day. Of the 7 Largest mass-murders in US history, guess how many involved firearms...

    1. McVeigh/Nichols, Oklahoma City bombing, OKC, 1995, 168 dead.
    2. Julio Gonzalez, Happy Land Social Club arson, Bronx, 1990, 87 dead.
    3. Andrew Kehoe, school bombing, Bath Michigan, 1927, 45 dead (37 children).
    4. Jack Gilbert Graham, dynamite on plane, Denver, 1955, 44 dead.
    5. David Burke, shot pilot of plane, California, 1987, 43 dead.
    6. Umberto de la Torre, Hotel arson, Los Angeles, 1982, 25 dead.
    7. George Jo Hennard, Luby's massacre, Killeen TX, 1991, 23 dead.
    Last modified: Wed Aug 18 11:35:03 PDT 1999 © 1996 Jim Richardson

  • From ahwatukee.com by Doug Murphy
    Massacre Rocked Michigan School in 1927

    While the tragedy at Colorado's Columbine High School was often cited as the worst school massacre in United States history, Bath, Mich., outside Lansing, faced worse in 1927.

    That spring, 55-year-old farmer and school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe was enraged by a tax increase to fund a new school. The tax increase put his farm on the verge of foreclosure, pushing Kehoe over the edge.

    On a sunny morning in May, he drove up to the brick school and set off 500 pounds of dynamite in the basement. The blast killed 45 people, 38 of them students, most between the ages of 6 to 8.

    The bomb buried "the teachers and pupils under toms of debris," according to a report by The Associated Press.

    Principal E. E. Huyck rushed Kehoe, who was wiring a separate bomb in his car, and as the two men fought, Kehoe fired a rifle into the vehicle, setting off that bomb, killing himself and the principal.

    The Associated Press reported at the time that Kehoe had also killed his wife and horse and blown up his own home before going to the school.

  • From a paper by a law student
    School Shootings
    Are today's children really protected in our public schools?

    "I'm a law student working on my B.S. degree. I did this paper for a criminal justice class." -- Robin Turcotte

    Section 3: First Recorded School Shooting The first recorded school shooting was May 18, 1927, Bath, Michigan.

    Forty people were killed when farmer Andrew Kehoe, angry over his tax bill, set off dynamite at the local school.

    As parents and town folks rushed towards the blast, Kehoe drove back into the school yard. He motioned school superintendent Emory Huyck over to his car, spoke to him briefly, then aimed a shot from his gun into the back seat of his car, setting off more dynamite.

    By the time the roar from the two explosions faded, 38 children, the town's postmaster, a retired farmer, the superintendent, two teachers and Kehoe himself were dead. The body of Kehoe's wife was found at their home where Kehoe apparently killed her the morning of the blast.

    (This information on Kehoe and the first school shooting was obtained from the Internet under school shooting).

    (note that it wasn't a shooting...)

  • From the Miller Pages
    It is often claimed by the press that this rampage is the worst act of mass violence to befall a school in American history. Again, the press is guilty of inexcusably sloppy reporting. Drudge is reporting that "on May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, 'maniac bomber' Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent."

    Three obvious observations come to mind. First, how dare news organizations claim that Littleton is the worst example of school yard carnage, when it is such an obviously false claim? The fact that they have not discussed this prior event reveals their own incompetence. Second, the presence of a worse atrocity, 70 years in the past, does not serve the purpose of those who would exploit Littleton to advance their own agenda. Third, the mainstream media loves to bash Drudge, but he keeps beating them to the punch.

  • From conservative site Media Research
    -- After the Drudge Report revealed how the incident was not the most deadly at a school in U.S. history, Dan Rather chose his words carefully Thursday night: "The enormity here of the worst high school massacre in U.S. history hits home in sharp, crystal clarity, when you see it one victim at a time..."

    Worst "high school" massacre, but not the worst school incident. "The country's worst school massacre, in Littleton, Colo." claimed Reuters and "The worst school massacre in U.S. history" declared UPI in headlines cited by Matt Drudge, who explained: "A massive error is circulating in the media about Tuesday's Colorado school tragedy: It was not, repeat, not the worst attack on a school in United States history. On May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School.

    "After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent...."

  • From The Black World Today
    From 04-21-99 Drudge Report:

    LITTLETON SCHOOL MASSACRE NOT WORST IN U.S. HISTORY

    A massive error is circulating in the media about Tuesday's Colorado school tragedy: It was not, repeat, not the worst attack on a school in United States history. [REUTERS: "The country's worst school massacre, in Littleton, Colo." UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL: "The worst school massacre in U.S. history."] On May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent. "I don't remember hearing any noise, but I remember flying in the air and seeing things fly between me and the sun," remembers AdaBelle McGonigal, then 11 and in the fifth grade. "But I don't ever remember falling." AdaBelle's ear was nearly torn off in the blast that killed 38 of her classmates. Seven adults also died that day. Because this happened so long ago, it is something that most reporters don't know about and have failed to reference in the coverage of the Littleton, Colorado nightmare.

  • From Hoosier Pharmer Alerts, 4/22/99
    The Drudge Report gives us an interesting bit of history today. Seems our mainstream media could not get it right again. Reuters, UPI and the NY Times all called the tragedy at Columbine HS the United States' worst school massacre. Wrongo. On 5/18/27, 45 people, including 38 elementary school kids were killed by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School. Among the dead was the culprit, school board member and farmer, Andrew Kehoe. Guess this bit of history was not available to the press.
  • From USA Today by Patrick O'Driscoll
    Killings place among 'top' mass murders

    The killing of about 25 people at Columbine High School on Tuesday will rank among the worst mass murders in American history.

    The April 19, 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building killed 168 people, putting it at the top of the list of mass slayings.

    A lesser-known explosion claimed 45 lives on May 18, 1927, at the Bath, Mich., Consolidated School. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, school board member Andrew Kehoe blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent.

  • From a special to the Denver Post by Curtis Esquibel
    columbine - tragedy and recovery

    School violence far from new

    While many reports say Tuesday's tragedy at Columbine was the worst school-related massacre in U.S. history, in fact it was not. On May 18, 1927, 45 people were killed at the Bath, Mich., Consolidated School after Andrew Kehoe planted dynamite. Kehoe, a school board member responsible for the killings, then blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the school's superintendent.

  • From the Jason Report
    There was a Much Worst (sic) School Tragedy

    It is kind of a small point, but so many news organizations (myself included) were calling this the worst act of destruction at one of our nation's schools. Back in 1927 at Bath Michigan School a one Andrew Kehoe set off a number of dynamite explosions which killed 45 people! Yeah I know it doesn't make this situation any better, but you have to keep the media honest.
    Tragedy - Jason - April 23rd, 1999

  • From "Instead of a Book", a column by Randy Davidson on 4/24/99
    A distant tragedy feels local

    According to news reports that have emerged since the Littleton assault, the worst school massacre in U.S. history was not the product of an outcast teen-ager hyped up on Marilyn Manson and Doom chat rooms. On May 18, 1927, Andrew Kehoe, a farmer and treasurer of the Bath, Mich., school board, distraught over financial difficulties, used dynamite to blow up a portion of the town’s school. Forty-five people, including 38 students, died.

  • By Clyde Lewis
    It was overlooked by the media that the worst school disaster happened on May 18, 1927, when 45 people were killed, including 38 elementary students, by a series of dynamite explosions at the Bath Michigan School. After detonating explosives he planted under the school, "maniac bomber" Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer, blew up his pickup truck, killing himself and the Bath School superintendent.
  • From "Outcast" by Dan Knight, 4/29/99
    The massacre in Colorado has been on my mind -- and probably yours as well.

    It's very troubling on any number of levels.

    First, kids preying on kids just goes against the way things should be. (Not that it's any better when adults prey on kids, as the school bombing in Bath, MI, demonstrated.)

  • From the American Association of School Administrators
    (The bloodiest school attack occurred in 1927 in Bath, Mich. Forty-five people were killed, including the superintendent and 38 elementary children, when an anti-tax school board member, Andrew Kehoe, carried out a suicide bombing.)
  • From Mackido.com
    It is really sick and sad that so many kids lost their lives so tragically -- and I don't mean to minimize it by saying it is a minor tragedy -- but society does need to keep some perspective. This is not even the biggest school massacre in the U.S. -- that one was on May 18, 1927, at the Bath Michigan School, killed 45 people (38 elementary students) by a series of dynamite explosions. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and treasurer and farmer, blew up the school, his pickup truck (with him inside) and burned down his farm (not necessarily in that order). So while it is a tragedy, we always have to keep perspective, not over sensationalize, and realize that things could have been worse. We will get over it!

    (Maybe the nation as a whole, but not the communities affected...)

  • From "Finger-Pointing in Littleton" by Robert A. Jung, 5/6/99
    Consider the following: the Columbine shooting, horrific [though] it might be, was not the worst school massacre in American history. That distinction goes to the Bath Michigan Elementary School, where Andrew Kehoe, a school board member and local farmer, killed forty-five people (most of whom were below the age of ten) with a series of dynamite explosions.

    The date of this disaster? May 18, 1927. Before "Natural Born Killers," before Doom, before rock and roll, the Internet, Nazi Germany, Goths, the NRA, or any of the other convenient scapegoats.

  • Back to Bath School Disaster main page


    Page History:
    8/6/00 Begun.
    8/6/00 Uploaded and stored as bathlink.htm
    5/7/03 Updated Crime pages with excerpt from THE LITERATURE OF THE AMERICAN SERIAL KILLER.

    Compilation copyright © 2000-2003 by Ronald D. Bauerle; copyrights held by original authors and sources are still so held. The material published on this site may not be reproduced for commercial purposes. Historical researchers are free to use this material for reference and research purposes. All other rights reserved.

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