1918 Photo of Dynamited Schumm Parochial School

One hundred and one years ago residents in the area of Schumm, Ohio, were shocked when Zion Lutheran’s parochial school was dynamited in the early morning hours of 20 October 1918. The time was during WWI, when the country was filled with anti-German sentiment. Schumm was settled by German immigrants. It was a German-Lutheran parish and they still held church services in German and taught the German language at the school at that time.

I wrote about this event last year, “Schumm Parochial School Dynamited in 1918.” [1] I have heard a couple theories about why the school was dynamited, but the most accepted theory is the anti-German sentiment at the time.

I have acquired a photo of Schumm’s parochial school not long after it was dynamited. The damage was to the northeast corner of the building:

Schumm Parochial School after 20 October 1918 dynamiting.

The brick school building, built in 1899, was about 24 x 32 feet. You can see where the dynamite was placed, under the window in the northeast corner, creating a large hole. The force of the explosion was so great that one end of the building was blown out, every window was broken, the seats were blown loose from their fastenings on the floor, the ceiling was wrecked and the entire North wall was damaged. The vibrations caused by the explosion created a report which was heard for miles around, indicating that a large quantity of the explosion was set off. [2]

Schumm’s parochial school:

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

Tragic as this event was, at least the perpetrators chose a time when no one was at the school. No one was injured.

How ironic that at that same time there were young German-American men from Schumm, risking their lives while fighting the Germans in Europe. They were patriotic Americans.

[1] Karen’s Chatt, “Schumm Parochial School Dynamited in 1918,” 13 July 2018, https://karenmillerbennett.com/schumm/schumm-parochial-school-dynamited-in-1918/.

[2] Van Wert Daily Bulletin, Van Wert, Ohio, 21 Oct 1918, pg. 3. [The whole newspaper article at “Schumm Parochial School Dynamited in 1918.”]


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    • Carol Piper on October 25, 2019 at 9:16 am
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    Fascinating, thank you!

    1. It is quite a story, and so close to home! Thanks for writing!

    • Phil Schumm on October 4, 2023 at 9:45 pm
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    This one’s disturbing for sure.

    1. It certainly is.

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