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From the archives: As hundreds hold their breath, a distraught young man climbs atop a building (January 21, 1964)

January 21, 1964 - Onlookers crowd the sidewalks at Fourth Street and Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg, drawn there by the solitary figure perched atop the building across the street. (Ron Wahl | Times)

January 21, 1964 - Onlookers crowd the sidewalks at Fourth Street and Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg, drawn there by the solitary figure perched atop the building across the street. (Ron Wahl | Times)

As I add historical photos into the Tampa Bay Times archive, I'm always on the lookout for compelling images, such as the ones below. On January 21, 1964, a troubled young man, perched atop the recently demolished Phiel Hotel, brought downtown St. Petersburg to a standstill for hours.

The St. Petersburg Times published an article the next day, as well as an entire page of photos.

From that photo page: A young man with many problems, wrestled with them atop the Madison Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg yesterday. For nearly two hours, he sobbed, smoked cigarettes, shifted his position, folded and unfolded a raincoat, stood up and sat down, screamed at crowds in the street below, warned fire department ladder trucks to "get out of there," and repeatedly called for "Barbara."

(Times | Bob Hannah)

(Times | George Trabant)

(Times | George Trabant)

(Times | George Trabant)

(Times | Ron Wahl)

(Times | Bob Moreland)

(Times | Johnnie Evans)

(Times | Johnnie Evans)

(Times | Johnnie Evans)

Postscript: The young man was taken to police headquarters for questioning, then to the psychiatric ward at Mound Park Hospital, where he was listed in Fair condition the next day.

Tim Rozgonyi

Twitter: @timrozgonyi

e-mail: [email protected]

From the archives: As hundreds hold their breath, a distraught young man climbs atop a building (January 21, 1964) 04/18/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 2:29pm]
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