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Nov 01

A Few More Photos & Articles, 1918 Dynamiting of Schumm School

Last week I posted a photo of the exterior of Schumm’s Parochial School, after it was dynamited in the early hours of Sunday, 20 October 1918.

Schumm Parochial School after 20 October 1918 dynamiting.

The dynamiting of the small parochial school was big news for this area and across the country as well. Many newspapers covered the story. This past week I looked through some newspapers on-line and found news articles and a couple more photos of the school and of Zion Lutheran Church.

These three photos were in The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette the week after the dynamiting. I assume a news photographer came from Fort Wayne and took these photos soon after the bombing. [1]

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 27 Oct 1918, p.3B.

Caption below the photos: Church edifice of Zion’s German Lutheran Congregation at Schumm, Ohio, and the school building which was partly wrecked at an early hour last Sunday by unknown persons who placed a heavy charge of dynamite under the structure. The interior of the school room as it appeared on the morning following the explosion is shown in one of the pictures. [1]

The first of the three photos shows Zion Lutheran Church and their parochial school across the road. I find this photo interesting because it was taken before the church addition was built and before the school was taken down, quite a few years later.  

Zion Lutheran Church & School, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 27 Oct 1918, p.3B.

The second photo is of the interior of the school. You can see the blackboard and some overturned desks and some structural debris and damage from the explosion.

Interior of Schumm Parochial School after 1918 bombing, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 27 Oct 1918, p.3B.

The third photo is of the outside damage to the school, where the dynamite was placed. This photo is taken from a slightly different angle than the photo I posted last week, the first photo in today’s post.   

Dynamite damage to Schumm Parochial School, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 27 Oct 1918, p.3B.

Caption below the above photo: East wall of Lutheran parish school at Schumm, Ohio, after the explosion.

Newspapers across the country carried the story. This news story printed in a Helena, Montana, newspaper:

DYNAMITE LUTHERANS
By Associated Press.
Van Wert, O., Oct. 20—A German Lutheran school at Schumm, a village southwest of here, was wrecked by dynamite early this morning. The dynamiters are said to have been traced across the line to into Indiana. The Rev. George Mayers [sic], teacher in the school, was born in Wisconsin of Swiss parents. [2]

“…village southwest of here…” Hmmm. I don’t think they really knew where Schumm, Ohio, is located. It would be a stretch to say Schumm is southeast of Helena, let alone southwest of Helena.

The Pittsburgh Press, The Washington Post, and several other papers across the county also reported the very same story, almost verbatim, all saying Schumm is “southwest of here.” [3] [4] Apparently Schumm is southwest of everywhere. They obviously picked up the story from one source and never bothered to change the town’s location. Some papers did spell Rev. Meyer’s name correctly.

The Washington Post titled their article “German School Blown Up. Wreckers of Ohio Institution Said to Have Come From Indiana.” Blown up is somewhat of an exaggeration, but I like that they called the little school an Ohio Institution.

Another exaggeration from the Evansville Journal, Evansville, Indiana: “Lutheran Church Blasted by Mob.” I don’t believe they ever determined it was a mob.

Zion Lutheran Parochial School, Schumm, Ohio (built in 1899)

You gotta love newspaper research. Such interesting reading.

[1] “The Journal-Gazette’s Sunday Picture Page,” The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 27 Oct 1918, p.3B; Newspapers.com, viewed 30 Oct 2019.

[2] “Dynamite Lutherans,” The Helena Independent-Record, Helena, Montana, 21 Oct 1918, p.2; Newspapers.com, viewed 30 Oct 2019.

[3] “Ohio Lutheran School Wrecked by Dynamite,” The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 21 Oct 1918, p.7; Newspapers.com, viewed 30 Oct 2019.

[4] “German School Blown Up. Wreckers of Ohio Institution Said to Have Come From Indiana.” The Washington Post, Washington DC, 21 Oct 1918, p.3; Newspapers.com, viewed 30 Oct 2019.

6 comments

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  1. Sondra Samples

    Great research of newspaper files, Karen! And I like your tongue-in-cheek comments about the lack of editing by the out of state newspapers that picked up the story.

    1. Karen

      Thanks, Sondra!

  2. Phyllis Brockmyer

    Jim Krueckeberg, who attended Schumm School until 5th grade, and graduated from Willshire in 1957, told me the story many years ago. His father Walter inferred the feeling around Schumm was that the perpetrators were from Willshire but ran into Indiana to avoid detection. I don’t know that there was ever any proof of these theories or whether there were previous threats.

    1. Karen

      Interesting! I have also heard that theory. It sure would be interesting to know if the case was ever solved and closed. Thanks for writing!

  3. NGB

    Newspapers at the time usually cited news as it had originally been reported locally (sometimes with minor edits for space or formatting). So when the reports start out “Van Wert, O.”, followed by the story, the details are given from the perspective of Van Wert. Under that convention, “a village southwest of here” means the village of Schumm is southwest of Van Wert.

    1. Karen

      That makes sense! I didn’t look at it that way, but I see that now. Thanks for writing!

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