Bath School Disaster

Blanche Elizabeth Harte Fifth Grade Teacher

Blanche Elizabeth Harte
Fifth Grade Teacher

Emory E. Huyck Bath School Superintendent

Emory E. Huyck
Bath School Superintendent

Hazel Iva Weatherby Third & Fourth Grade Teacher

Hazel Iva Weatherby
Third & Fourth Grade Teacher











Bath Township, in Michigan, was one of those little farm towns, with a grain elevator, a small drugstore, and everyone knew everyone. Bath had years of debate on whether to continue with the system of one room schools or to consolidate to one area school. In 1922, the township voters approved the creation of a new school which would house grades 1-12. To pay for this new building area landowners, about 300 of them, would pay higher property taxes. When the school opened 236 students were enrolled from all over the consolidated school district.

The Bath Area School

The Bath Area School

On May 18, 1927 school began at 8:30am, a normal start to a Wednesday by all accounts. Children were catching up, getting to their classes and preparing for their day’s lessons. At 8:45 a small alarm clock sounded in the basement of the north wing of the school, triggering an explosion of dynamite and pyrotol placed in the school by Andrew Kehoe, the school board treasurer, and one of the school’s caretakers.

Andrew Kehoe had been angry about property taxes used to fund the school. It was believed he formed the plan to destroy the school at least 9 months in advance when he lost an election for township clerk. On the same day of the school explosion he burned down his farm, killed his wife, and then blew up his car, killing himself and five other people.

The death toll came to a staggering 45 individuals. Thirty eight were children, two teachers, the school superintendent, and several bystanders. In the aftermath, a large pile of dynamite was discovered under the south wing of the school. It’s timer had not gone off.

In Bath, at the Bath School Memorial Park, visitors can see the Cupola that was the only part of the central and partial north wing of the school that survived the explosion while the south wing was left fully intact.

To help honor Emory Huyck, Hazel I. Weatherbee, and Blanche E. Harte


9 thoughts on “Bath School Disaster

  1. This extraordinary 3rd-4th grade teacher’s full name was Hazel Iva Weatherby (not Weatherbee as indicated on your Hall of Fame listing. Additionally, her cemetery Memorial Stone located in Amble Cemetery, Howard City (Amble section) Michigan, states: “Martyred Teacher of Bath.” I am authoring a novel currently titled, “The Angels of May” and am attempting to clear misinformation through my research as I locate it. Thank you.

  2. There is so much more that I have researched in this project that no one, is fully aware of . It will be published by the spring of 2017 in time for the 90th reunion.

  3. My friend, Lorinda Ann Huyck, a cousin of Emory Eli Huyck, died very unexpectedly in Moffat County, Colorado.

    • If your question has to do with the difference between one room school houses in various areas around the Bath area as opposed to a single structure incorporating all or most of those classrooms into one central school system… that is “what… one has to do with the other. If you are questioning the proper spelling of 3rd & 4th grade teacher Hazel Iva Weatherby the heroic 20-yearold teacher who died attempting to save two of her students from harm; buried in the Amble Cemetery just outside of Howard City along Hwy 46, both townships, Amble and Bath have a lot historically to do with each other. Hope that helps.

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