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All Things Michigan

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Remembering the May 18, 1927 Bath School bombing

Andrew Norton

Media coverage of various school shootings and bombins in recent years would lead one to believe that this is a recent phenomenon. America's first school bombing occurred in the small town of Bath, Michigan at approximately 8:45 a.m. on May 18, 1927. A series of dynamite and pyrotol (military surplus explosive used by farmers for blowing stumps) were wired to a battery and timer which blew away the north wing of the Bath Consolidated School killing thirty-eight children and three adults. The perpetrator was Andrew Kehoe, school board treasurer and local farmer who also worked on various electrical issues and other technical problems at the school from time to time. Shortly after the timed explosion at the school, Andrew Kehoe blew up his farm and burned his wife in the ensuing fire/explosions. He then drove his truck loaded with more explosives to the disaster at the school. For whatever reason, the school superintendent was his nemesis and upon pulling up to the school he called out to the superintendent, Emory Huyck. Huyck went over to Kehoe's truck and Kehoe shot into the load of explosives in his truck instantly killing him and Huyck.

The why of the Bath School Disaster vanished into the ether when Kehoe's truck exploded. No one knows the exact reason for this horrible tragedy. Some say it was for the simple fact that Kehoe didn't like paying higher taxes to support the school. The only person who knew for sure was Andrew Kehoe and the only message he left was a board attached to a fence on his farm. The message on the board read, "Criminals are made, not born." Apparently meaning that someone or something made Kehoe into the type of person who would perpetrate such a cowardly act.

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For More information on the Bath School Disaster:

Books: Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing Life Is Fragile: One Girls Story of the Bath School Disaster