Bath School House Disaster

Bath School House Disaster

Marcie Hartmann


The Bath School House massacre is the deadliest school massacre in American history to date. In 1927 a school in Bath, Michigan, only 10 miles outside of Lansing, was subject to the most brutal but forgotten attack on a public school. On May 18, 1927, the elementary wing of the 314-student school exploded killing a total of 44 people, 38 of which were students all of which were at the hands of Andrew Kehoe, the disgruntled treasurer of the school board (Boissoneault, 2017). Upset about the tax increase to pay for the Bath Consolidated School that opened in 1922, Kehoe set to carry out his brutal plan. Although only leveling the north wing of the building, Kehoe had intended to demolish the entire school with dynamite. Pictured below is what is left after the explosion, the brand new building that Kehoe had not only helped pay for but also worked for is all but demolished. This is one of many examples of Kehoe’s mental status during the weeks and months prior to the bombing. Someone of sound mind would not have senselessly destroyed something they had begrudgingly helped pay for.


The north wing of the Bath Consolidated School after the explosion, May 18, 1927. (


The death count didn’t stop with students and staff inside the school. When Kehoe arrived on scene with a truckload of explosives and shrapnel that he detonated by shooting it with his rifle, killing the school superintendent and several bystanders the massacre finally came to an end. After the dead and wounded were taken away police, fire, and rescue workers also found another 500 pounds of dynamite and pyrotol in the school’s basement. The following photo is what was found in the basement after the bombing.  It can be seen here that not only was Kehoe attempting to bring down the school but his overkill use of the explosive probably meant that he had more sinister plans in store for the village of Bath. According to the fire chief at the time had the rest of the explosives detonated it is possible that downtown Bath, in its entirety, would have been leveled. This would have been a financially catastrophic blow to an already poor community.

Five hundred pounds of unexploded pyrotol that was taken out of the basement of the untouched portion of the Bath Consolidated School.


Not only did Kehoe cause the deaths of those in and near the schoolhouse that day, but it was later found that he had murdered his wife, Nellie Kehoe sometime in the days prior to the massacre. Kehoe hid her remains, strapped to a cart behind what was thought to be the sheep paddock before burning the property to the ground.  It was also later found that he had tied the hooves of his horses together to die in the burning barn. Days later in the ruins of the Kehoe farm, a sign was found attached to the fence that read “Criminals are made, not born”. In the image below you can see that Kehoe spent a decent amount of time stenciling the simple phrase onto a scrap piece of lumber. According to the inscription that Kehoe left behind, it suggests that he is not at fault for the bombing, but that he was born this way; criminal at heart. The lack of personal accountability for his actions lends itself as a clue to his long-term, unaddressed mental instability.  There were no other explanations from Kehoe about his actions that day (Peters, 2012).

Sign found on the fence of Kehoe’s farm (

Although hardly spoke of today, Bath, Michigan still remembers and feels the echoes of the disaster.  Arnie Bernstein who wrote an account of the bombing in 2009 recalls the importance of remembering this tragedy in Michigan history: “A whole generation of a town was affected because of a madman…we owe it to them to tell the story and keep their memory alive” (Putnam, 2016).

Primary Sources

Reiman, N., & Garofalo, M. (2009, April 17). Survivors Recall 1927 Michigan School Massacre. Retrieved April 13, 2018, from


Secondary Sources

Boissoneault, L. (2017, May 18). The 1927 Bombing That Remains America’s Deadliest School Massacre. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from

Peters, J. (2012, December 18). “We Still Look at Ourselves as Survivors”: More Than Eighty Years Later, Remembering the Deadliest School Massacre in American History. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from

Putnam, J. (2016, May 20). Putnam: Evil of Bath School Disaster remembered 89 years later. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from

Origins of Hydroelectric Power in the St. Marys River, MI

Origins of Hydroelectric Power in the St. Marys River, MI

John Larsen Jr.

            Similar to many other villages founded in the late 1600s, Sault Ste. Marie was located on a waterway to enable trade of goods, which at the time consisted mainly of furs.  Prior to early French exploration, the site that is now Sault Ste. Marie was inhabited by Chippewa Indians who utilized the location for fishing as well as a route from the upper to lower Great Lakes (The Soo Locks).  Following French settlement, it became apparent that the location could prove vital to the movement of furs from the north to other settlements in the southern region of the lakes.  Over time, trade evolved from the transport of pelts to important minerals and lumber from the western end of Lake Superior, leading to more permanent colonization of Sault Ste. Marie.

Following the construction of the first lock in the St. Marys in 1855 (The Soo Locks History), the economic boom tapered off but the idea for a new business venture took hold in the form of hydroelectric power.  Similar to many other business initiatives, original plans were found to be inadequate, investors filed for bankruptcy, and doubt plagued the idea that a canal and hydroelectric facility would ever be constructed.  Finally, in 1898, construction of the canal and power plant began when H.W. Hubbell and Company and E.O Smith Co. were awarded contracts for the canal and Mason and Hodge for the power plant.  The anticipated completion date for the Michigan Lake Superior Power Company hydroelectric plant was intended to be early 1900 but “this date had to be steadily moved backward as construction got under way and things began to go wrong.” (Library of Congress, 1978) Delays led to the power plant not being completed until 1902 with water first being let into the canal in August of that year.  On October 24, 1902, there was a massive attendance at the grand opening of the powerhouse (Image 1902) and a celebration was held on the second floor of the newly constructed plant.

Post-construction and grand opening, problems arose regarding land ownership, water diversion, and structure failures within the canal itself.  Resulting from ongoing issues and massive debt, MLSPC was taken over by Union Carbide in 1913.  Eventually, Edison Sault Electric Company took over control of the facility and currently it is operated by Cloverland Electric Cooperative.  Through all of the struggles, the power plant was a massive feat of engineering as it was completed in 1902 and is still operational today, supplying power to Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding areas. “Not only is it still operative, but the plant remains in very good condition” (Library of Congress, 1978), further adding to its engineering legacy.

Primary Sources:



Historic American Engineering Record. Michigan Lake Superior Power Company Hydroelectric Plant and Canal. Library of Congress, 1978. (Available online:


This source outlines the origins of hydroelectric power production from the St. Marys River.  It provides background information about individuals and companies that were involved with the initial plans, failures, and successes regarding hydroelectric power.  Additionally, it contains images, letters, and other documentation focused on the projects of the time as well as some original project blueprints.


Powerhouse grand opening in October 1902, from Cloverland Electric Cooperative: Our History, (

This image that was taken on October 24, 1902 shows individuals gathered for the grand opening ceremony of the Michigan Lake Superior Power Company hydroelectric plant.  The photograph was taken near Portage Street at the intake for the power facility.  The photo demonstrates public support for the largest local development of the time.


Secondary Sources:

 City of Sault Ste. Marie. History of the City: The Soo Locks History. (Available online:

Michigan State University. The Soo Locks. (Available online:

United States Life Saving Services within Michigan

United States Life Saving Services

Emily Koons


The United States Life Saving Services, also known as the USLSS formed in 1878, though some stations were built along the Great Lakes in 1854, before dissolving to become the Coast Guard we know and hear of today. The organization was a very hazardous and dangerous job, as they never knew what to expect when they got on the waters. They battled crashing waves, that could demolish their own ships while trying to save others. Their least complicated manner of rescue was by small boat, though it was the most dangerous type of rescue. The waves could easily overpower their smaller boats, and then they had to wrestle with the larger ships, vessels, and debris in the area they were rescuing. Pictured to the left, a crew is battling the waves in Lake Superior (Images of America: United States Life-Saving Service in Michigan, pg. 122). The Great Lakes are oceanic in character, meaning that waves, though they cannot grow nearly as large as oceanic waves, can be closer together, and steeper (The U.S. Life Saving Service, pg. 163).

The members of the USLSS were expected to do activities every day of the week except Sundays, practicing with rescue equipment (That Others Might Live, pg. 121). Their Mondays and Thursdays were for working within the beach apparatus (That Others Might Life, pg. 122). They used a drill pole to imitate a ship’s mast as their target. Crewmembers were expected to be down the drill pole within five minutes, those who could not complete the task within five minutes were dismissed. Their Tuesdays were devoted to boat practice (That Others Might Live, pg. 124). Crewmembers were required to launch their small boats and row oars for at least thirty minutes at a time. Part of their drill on Tuesdays was to purposely capsize their boat and find a way to right the boat so it was setting in the water properly again. Their drills were not always the safest, some crewmembers drowned in their preparations. Wednesdays were meant for practicing flag hoisting, or wig-wag (That Others Might Live, pg. 126). Wig wag is essentially Morse code but with flags. Fridays brought first aid training, which also included CPR for those who had drowned. Saturdays were left for cleaning the station (That Others Might Live, pg. 126).

Not everyone in the communities around these stations supported the USLSS. Some viewed them with suspicion at their tight knitted-ness that comes with most service branches. There were a few reports of arguments going on around parts of Michigan where the USLSS may have trespassed on private property to do their jobs.

Most servicemembers brought oils, a lantern, metal chits or a watchman’s clock, and Coston signals for their rounds to keep an eye out for possible sea wrecks (That Others Might Live, pg. 130). Crewmembers were warned ahead of time of the possibility of gruesome sights, such as washed up bodies. Alongside their duties to patrol and rescue, they were also required to do miscellaneous jobs around the station and cook for themselves. Among some of their “odd jobs around the station” were cutting wood.

          Their family life was difficult, as the crewmembers were constantly on-duty and required to be away from home, which left spouses to worry about the dangerous conditions they could potentially be getting into. Pictured to above, is an home in Point Betsie, Michigan (Images of America: United States Life-Saving Service in Michigan, pg. 61). It was common practice for crewmembers to name their homes, and while their jobs were dangerous, it didn’t keep from them a sense of humor. Not only was it hard on the servicemembers, it was tough for family members, as the stations were in remote places, which offered little contact with others, and made it hard to receive medical care and schooling (That Others Might Live, 143). The stations along Lake Superior were some of the isolated in the country at the time of the USLSS. There have been mentions of ghosts along the Lake Superior corridor due to the amounts of deaths in the area. (The U.S. Life Saving Service, pg. 163).

Primary Sources

Images of America: United States Life-Saving Service in Michigan, pg. 122

This source brought insight of how rough the waves truly were in Lake Superior and how the crew was still determined to go out on the dangerous waters and do their jobs.

Images of America: United States Life-Saving Service in Michigan, pg. 61

This source shined a light on the sense of humor of the crewmembers. They were allowed to name their homes, and this was one of the buildings that were named a little darkly, as a lot of crewmembers’ families could be left without a father.



Secondary Sources:

That Others Might Live by Dennis Noble, Chapter 7, Life at the U.S. Life-Saving Service, pgs. 121-146

This source was supple with information about the day to day schedule of the servicemembers of the USLSS, and what was expected of them, as well as a small portion of information about their spouses and children.

The U.S. Life-Saving Service: Heroes, Rescues and Architecture of the Early Coast Guard by Ralph Shanks and Wick York, Chapter 15, Great Lakes, pgs. 163-186

This source added to the knowledge of “That Others Might Live” about the Great Lakes in general, as to how rough the waters were and how isolated the area was.

Students for a Democratic Society

Students for a Democratic Society

Boone Murdoch

            When the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) first founded their organization they planned on changing the face and tactics of the left in the United States, and in many ways the SDS did. The foundation of the SDS also marked the beginning of the “New Left”, and would put them at odds with other leftist organizations in the United States at the time. The question is whether or not the changes they caused were good for the left as a whole or whether or not their strategies were effective.

The SDS was formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the year of 1960. It was structured organizationally around getting students to join a socialist movement so its rules, documents, and structures were based on student life on campus and work and were less based on workers. They felt that students were not as inclined to join other socialist organizations because they could not relate to them. “Almost no students value activity as citizens. Passive in public, they are hardly more idealistic in arranging their private lives: Gallup concludes they will settle for “low success, and won’t risk high failure.” There is not much willingness to take risks…” (Port Huron Statement) With this new interpretation on how to bring about socialism the SDS came under fire from other socialist organizations.

An example of where SDS came at odds with various Marxist organizations was their failed program Economic Research and Action Project or ERAP for short. Essentially SDS sent organizers and volunteers to the ghettos of the United States in order to try and essentially coordinate the lumpen-proletariat into a revolutionary class. Besides the Marxist claim that the lumpen-proletariat can not be organized into a revolutionary class, which the SDS disregarded, but they were also seen as manipulative and paternalistic. “Why this inability to resolve the definition of an organizer? Why this cropping up of the word “manipulation” whenever we might otherwise have been on the verge of action or decision?”(Rothstein). Rothstein effectively captures the arguments from the SDS’s critics and how the people living in the ghettos of the United States felt they were being treated. “For one thing, ERAP organizers in the beginning did not know how to relate honestly to poor people. Cultural differences were too great to be easily overcome; middle class students, despite the best of intentions, carried condescending attitudes with them into the ghetto.” (Rothstein). This program would later split the SDS with those who supported it and those who felt it was a waste of resources due to its lack of results.

This idealistic view on organizing is rooted in their founding ideologies, “The main and transcending concern of the university must be the unfolding and refinement of the moral, aesthetic, and logical capacities of men in a manner that creates genuine independence.” (Hayden) Here we can see the seeds of a kind of intellectual superiority complex developing. Now with that negative aspect to it their was also a very positive aspect to it, this type of rhetoric was very popular with white middle class students across the United States. This was the SDS’s greatest achievement, they organized what was largely considered an apathetic demographic and held many successful civil rights and anti-war protests on campuses. The SDS showed an effective way to bring together students and push them towards action, but the SDS would later find out that those strategies were not effective outside of their respective college campuses. The Students for a Democratic Society should serve as a lesson for other leftist organizations and student organizations. For the leftist organizations, they should not just try to implant themselves into communities or cultures and try to tell them what they should be doing. Instead it would be better to support other organizations in those communities ran by that community that ideologically aligns with them. For students the SDS should serve as an example that it is possible to fight for your rights as a collective and win.

Primary Sources:

 The Port Huron Statement


This source is the founding document of the Students for a Democratic Society and a look into the ideology of the founders of this student organization and the New Left as a whole.

Student Social Action


This document was written by prolific SDS member Thomas Hayden. This goes over his observations of students and their interactions with faculty, society outside of school and each other. He then goes over how he thinks they should participate in politics and resist capitalism.

Secondary Sources:

Rothstein, Richard. “Calisphere” University of Califonia. 3/08/2018.            docId=kt4k4003k7.

Michigan Native American Boarding Schools

Michigan Native American Boarding Schools

Heather Gregg

            The Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School was founded in 1893 and this was home to seventeen students during the first year of this schools grand opening. These schools have tried to make Native American Students forget their culture and are forced to assimilate to the “White man’s ways” such as the language, education, and forcing Native Americans to follow Christianity (Man recalls time at Native American school in 1920s, 2008).  Even though many Native American families did not want to send their children to these schools some thought that this was only for their children to not have to go through the struggles, heartaches, and issues these families had to face. Most of these families are constantly struggling to stay out of poverty, feeding their children, living in horrible conditions, and these boarding schools promised these children a better life (Native American History and Culture: Boarding Schools- American Indian Relief Council…, year unknown).

Some of these Native American children were forced out of their homes and were not allowed to practice many of their cultural practices.  Some of these cultural practices were making their own clothes from animal skins, fishing, practicing their language, and making medicinal herbs.  Many of the students in these schools were physically, sexually, and emotionally abused (Man recalls time at Native American school in 1920s, 2008).  For example, if students tried to speak their language these students were beaten with a whip or one student state that “ their mouths were washed out with soap” (Survivors of Indian boarding schools tell their stories, unknown).  Many students stated that these teachers would show preference to those that were lighter skinned as one student states “the darker you were, the worst you were treated” (Survivors of Indian boarding schools tell their stories, unknown).

If the students were treated well in the school that usually meant those were the students that were being sexually abused by the teachers, nuns, and staff.  Native American culture has been dwindling because of these boarding schools. Many of the students that were forced to attend these schools are unable to remember their culture because these students were too traumatized because of their horrible experiences in these schools (Traditional Indian Education, 2011).


Primary Sources:

Man Recalls Time at Indian School

Krampton, John.  2008.  Man recalls time at Indian School in 1920s.  The Morning Sun.

An act granting certain property to the State of Michigan.  Lib. Congress session 2 Chapter 15. U.S. gov. web

This is a testimonial from one of the students that attended the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School.  These schools were made to convert Native Americans to follow white culture.  Carole Tally states” They just came in and took the kids.”  Back then white people would force the native american children to go to the boarding school and take them far away from their homes.  Many of these schools were used to take away the “Indian within the child” many people would say.  Even though the boarding schools had terrible conditions however, many of these Native American students came from very poor families that couldn’t afford food, clothing, or shelter.  This primary resource is used to share the experiences that many Native American children had while living in these boarding schools.


An act granting certain property to the state of Michigan

An act granting certain property to the State of Michigan.  Lib. Congress session 2 Chapter 15. U.S. gov. web

This is a government document that the state of Michigan is giving Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School land in order to institute that this school was allowed to be there in Mount Pleasant.  The purpose of this document is to establish proof that this school was here and that these events did take place.

Secondary Sources:

Native American History and Culture: Boarding Schools – American Indian Relief Council is now             Northern Plains Reservation Aid,            pagename=airc_hist_boardingschools. Accessed March 13, 2018.

Survivors of Indian boarding schools tell their stories.” WKAR,     boarding-schools-tell-their-stories#stream/0.  Accessed March 13, 2018.

“Traditional Indian Education” Central Michigan University.  2011,                Treaty_Rights/Contemporary_I ssues/Federal_Education_Policy/Pages/ default.aspx, Accessed             March 13,2018.



John Harvey Kellogg: More Than Cereal

John Harvey Kellogg: More Than Cereal

Megan Woodworth

Hearing the name Kellogg typically evokes thoughts about Tony the Tiger and Frosted Flakes, while both John Harvey and William Keith accidentally stumbled upon the first cereal product for Kellogg Cereal, J. H. Kellogg is known for much more. Dr. J. H. Kellogg was a well established physician and a health food pioneer. Kellogg became superintendent of the Seventh Day Adventist Western Health Reform Institute in 1867, which later became the infamous Battle Creek Sanitarium. Dr. J. H. Kellogg believed the body should be regarded as a temple and took a particular interest in the effects of tobacco on the human body.

Dr. J. H. Kellogg discusses the importance of feeding our bodies proper nutrients and how they will benefit us directly and in the future. Dr. J. H. Kellogg studied adequately the discipline of food chemistry, discovering the importance of dextrinizing the starch in foods before digesting them. In Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s book, The Living Temple (1903) he says, “Toasted Wheat Flakes, Granose, and Corn Flakes are cereal preparations in which the grain is first thoroughly cooked, then partially dried and compressed into thin flakes, which are afterward baked until slightly brown, by which process they are thoroughly dextrinized and prepared for prompt digestion and assimilation.” (Kellogg 1903). Using these cereal methods prolonged the baking process and broke down the starch which cereal grains are high in. The dextrinization process was used to make Granola, Granose, Browned Rice, Crystal Wheat, Protose, and Malted Nuts which were all products of the Battle Creek Sanitarium Health Food Company. The continued production and consumption of these products and similar products around the world show the impact of Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s discoveries concerning food and substance consumption. Another of Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s greatest interests and investments was his investment in the effects tobacco products had on the human body. One of Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s biggest arguments against tobacco was that of the stigma that smoking destroyed the nicotine and its effects. In Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s book, Tobaccoism or How Tobacco Kills, he discusses that “It thus appears that tobacco smoke contains not less than nineteen poisons, every one of which is capable of producing deadly effects. Several of these, nicotine, prussic acid, carbon monoxide and pyridine are deadly in very small doses so that the smoker cannot possibly escape their toxic effects.” (Kellogg 1922, 18-19). Dr. J. H. Kellogg not only attacked the use of tobacco because of its effects on the physical body but also the effect it has on your emotional and mental state. He also contributed to the anti-tobacco movement that led to regulations of tobacco.

While most people are familiar with the Kellogg name because of the economic weight it pulls in the breakfast food industry, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was a big advocate for human health and vocal about how he felt about topics surrounding it. Dr. J. H. Kellogg found a way to produce products and reduce the amount of starch found in them and he also was a vigorous advocate against the use of tobacco. Dr. J. H. Kellogg’s discoveries concerning food and substance consumption continues to impact the breakfast food industry and the economy of Cereal City. The legacy of John Harvey and his brother will continue to radiate for generations to come. Growing up in the city of Battle Creek it was tradition to either tour the cereal factories or in later years tour Cereal City U.S.A. Being a resident in the city it is hard to forget the legacy of the Kellogg family when the aroma of cereal fills the air on any given day.

Primary Sources:

John Harvey Kellogg,The Living Temple (1903)

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This source discusses John Harvey Kellogg’s regard for the human body and how certain foods and substances can affect our immediate and future health. This source also discusses the process used to produce certain foods in a way to generate better health benefits.

Tobaccoism or How Tobacco Kills (1922)

( )

This book discusses John Harvey Kellogg’s stance on the use of tobacco. He discusses not only the effects on physical health but that of mental and emotional health. This sources his strong feelings and reasoning to backing the anti tobacco movement.

Secondary Sources:

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. John Harvey Kellogg, MD: Health Reformer and Antismoking Crusader: v. 96(2). June 2002. (Available online: )