about the Bath School Disaster
     On a cool Spring morning in May of 1927 the Treasurer of the Bath, Michigan Consolidated School District fire/dynamite bombed his home and farm & collapsed the North half of the school building (having intended to destroy all of it). Within the hour he had committed additional murders in the middle of the village by the suicidal detonation of shrapnel-shrouded explosives that he had packed into his vehicle. Over the following year a total of 46 people would be dead as a result of that day's mayhem & many, many more would be counted among the injured & maimed. After 86 years this incident still ranks as the worst instance of school violence in U.S. history.

the rescue effort under way

In The News ...
Join us on Tuesday September 16 at 11:00 am for the dedication of a grave marker for the last (known) victim of the Bath School Bombings. Richard Fritz was the brother of bombing victim Marjorie Fritz & was buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lansing next to his sister. He died just shy of the first anniversay of the bombings from the wounds that he suffered in the blast.
Walter Eugene Eschtruth died on Wednesday March 5th, 2014 in Lansing Michigan. Walter, a second graderin 1927, was one of the few known remaining survivors of the bombings. He eventually graduated from the Couzens School & went into careers in farming, tv repair and insurance.

     Listed below are links to pages in this and other websites that deal with the events & aftermath of that day's tragedy.

The Victims
Brief individual biographies, their burial location & available photographs.

Those who survived the event
A list of individuals: survivors, siblings, adult family members, rescuers, townsfolk & others.

Survivors that are Still Alive Today
A list of individuals, survivors or siblings of survivors, that are still living.

The Coroner's Inquest
The transcript of the May 23-25, 1927 Clinton County Coroner's Inquest.   768Kb

1896 Maps of Clinton County & Bath Township
map of Clinton County Clinton
      map of Bath Township Bath

The Bath School Disaster Memorial Park
Images from the park at the site of the former Consolidated School building.

Books About the Bombing
  • "The Bath School Disaster"
    A contemporary account of the bombing and the events leading up to it, written by Bath resident Monty Ellsworth. It is available in four formats:
    • Lynx version (no formatting) 127Kb
    • Text Only (2 frames; formatted; no pictures) 200Kb
    • Full Book (2 frames; formatted; text & pictures as they appear in the book) 2.6Mb
    • Modem Friendly (4 frames; formatted; text & pictures available on demand)

  • Links to related materials & websites


  • Ronald Bauerle — victim family descendant
     message board:

  • Arnie Bernstein — author
    A non-fiction account of the Bath School Disaster by author Arnie Bernstein is now available. The title is Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing. Pricing: $18.95 (paper binding); $50.00 (cloth binding).

  • Betty Spencer — author
    In early 2008 Mt. Pleasant author Betty Spencer published her book Life Is Fragile: One Girl's Story of the Bath School Disaster. It is a fictionalized account of what life would have been like for a pre-teen farm girl living outside of the Village of Bath and attending the township's Consolidated School.

    The book may be ordered online at

  • Gene Wilkins — Township historian

    Library Resources

    Dewitt Public Library, Local History Collection - available books
    ... The Bath School Disaster (1927; Monty Ellsworth)
    ... Mayday: The History of a Village Holocaust (1980; Grant Parker)
     - area cemetery records

    Michigan State University, Special Collections - available books
    ... The Bath School Disaster (1927; Monty Ellsworth)
    ... Mayday: The History of a Village Holocaust (1980; Grant Parker)
    ... My Scrapbook on the Bath School Bombing (2002; Gene Wilkins)


    "Ojai Valley News" (S. California newspaper)
    online obituary of George Carpenter

    Other Internet Resources

    Wikipedia: online article

    Story Corps: Interview with Willis Cressman & niece Johanna Cushman-Balzer

    NPR: Morning Edition feature (April 17, 2009)

    Businesses & Organizations

    Sources of books about the bombing

    ... The Bath School Disaster (1927; Monty Ellsworth)
    ... Mayday: The History of a Village Holocaust (1980; Grant Parker)

    • The Bath Township Offices
    • The Bath School Museum

      The cost is $10 for each copy + shipping to your locale

    ...other out-of-print books on the Bath School Disaster

    Schools & Local Government

    Bath Community Schools

    Bath Charter Township

  • The Michigan Electronic Library - Mel This site is a featured link of MeL — the Michigan eLibrary, an ongoing project of the Library of Michigan. & the Michigan Library Consortium. We are referenced in the
    "Librarian Recommended Websites > Best of the Web > History > General History Resources" section

    This website is a personal endeavor. The content herein is solely the responsibility of the site creator.

    Research assistance for this website provided by Gene Wilkins, Ronald Bauerle, James Hixson, David Votta, Arnie Bernstein, Michelle Allen, Sondra Davis, the United States Social Security Death Master Index, Monty Ellsworth's Bath School Disaster, Harold Burnett's History of Bath Charter Township, Grant Parker's Mayday and the staffs of: The Michigan State University Library, the Capital Area District Library, the Library of Michigan, the Dewitt Public Library, the Chesaning City Library, the Owosso branch of the Shiawassee District Library, the Carson City Library, the Bath Township Clerk's office, the Meridian Township Clerk's office, the Perry Township Clerk's office, the Carson City Clerk's office, the Clinton County Clerk's office, the City of Lansing Mount Hope Cemetery, Emanuel Lutheran Church - Lansing, the Estes-Leadley Lansing Funeral Chapel, the Gorsline-Runciman Williamston Chapel, Mount Hope Monument Company, Bath Township Police Chief Scott Rose, the Lansing State Journal & the Bath Schools Historical Museum.

    Most of all we would like to thank all of the families of Bath who over the years have shared their stories and photographs with the many individuals that have gone before us in documenting the events surrounding the bombings in Bath, Michigan on the 18th of May, 1927.

    All color photography found within this website ©Copyright 2001-2014 J.L. Daggy, All rights are reserved.
    Digitized document conversion/formatting also ©Copyright 2001-2014 J.L. Daggy, All rights are reserved.
    Book cover art & designs are ©Copyright 1978, 1980, 2002, 2007, 2008 & 2009 by their respective publishers.
    All other photographs are under ©Copyright by their respective contributors & used with their premission.
    Questions or Comments may be directed to