The Bath School Bombing: May 18, 1927

Bath School Bombing
Bath Consolidated School after the May 18, 1927 bombing.

There is no real connection to golf, but the Bath School Bombing is an interesting piece of Michigan history and today (May 18) is the 90th anniversary of the disaster.

The Bath School Bombing is by far the worst school massacre in US history. On the morning of May 18, 1927, in two separate explosions in the tiny village just northeast of Lansing, 38 school children and six adults were killed. At least 58 others were injured.

The perpetrator was Andrew Kehoe, the school board treasurer. Kehoe was known to be a difficult person to work with, and was thought by some neighbors to be suicidal. In 1926, he lost an election for township clerk, and was facing foreclosure on his farm.

Kehoe had apparently been planning the bombing for many months. He stockpiled explosives and secretly planted them in his farmhouse and under the school.

Sometime between May 16 and the morning of May 18, 1927, Kehoe murdered his wife Nellie, who had recently been discharged from the hospital for an unknown illness. He then set off the explosives in his home.

Simultaneously, the explosives in the Bath Consolidated School building ignited. Thirty six children and two teachers were killed in this explosion. The explosives’ detonator was on a timer, but a second timer, for an additional 500 pounds of dynamite did not work as planned.

As rescue efforts were underway, Kehoe arrived in his truck. After calling over the School Superintendent, Kehoe set off more explosives in the truck. That explosion killed Kehoe, Superintendent Emory Huyck and several others nearby.

Today the Bath school massacre is largely forgotten. When the latest horror at a school is perpetrated, media concentrate their comparisons to more recent events, such as Blacksburg, Sandy Hook and Columbine.

Today, Bath is essentially a suburb of Lansing, and home to two very fine golf courses, Hawk Hollow and Eagle Eye.

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