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History of Bath Charter Township

Bath Charter Township was first surveyed in 1826 by Harvey Parke. The first settlers into Bath arrived ten years later in 1836. Among them were Ira Cushman and his family, who were later joined by Silas W. Rose and his wife and five children. It is debated exactly how the township got its name; however, it is believed that it is named after either Bath, New York or Bath, England.

The Village of Bath, or Downtown Bath, was centered around the Railroad, which ran through the town from 1857 to 1976. Various businesses, stores, hotels and services have called downtown Bath home over the years. Today, it is home to a local restaurant and a few stores. Many of the old buildings have been preserved and converted to apartments or homes for Bath residents.

Another popular feature in Bath is Park Lake. In the early 1900's, Park Lake Resort was a popular destination for folks throughout the Lansing area where they could swim, take boat rides and picnic. Around 1920, the Park Lake Dance Hall was built drawing big name bands from all over the area. The Dance Hall was hugely popular, but unfortunately it burned down in the 1930's. Park Lake is now lined with residential homes, and development continues to improve the area.

Bath was among the first communities in the state to have a consolidated school district. It is unfortunate, however, that this achievement was also the reason for a terrible disaster in Bath. On May 18, 1927, the township of Bath was devastated by an explosion at the consolidated school building that killed thirty-nine students and teachers. The explosion was the result of a maniacal

Bath School Disaster

citizen and school board member who was resentful of the higher taxes that came along with the new school system. He later killed the superintendent, another student and two townspeople as he took his own life by detonating the remaining explosives he had in his car. This tragedy not only gripped the entire community, but also struck the nation with sadness as it shared the front page of the New York Times with news of Charles Lindberg's transatlantic flight. Today Bath honors and remembers those who passed away on this tragic day through the placement of a State Historical Marker located on the site of the original school.