Jan. 28, 1947: Man Leaps From Top of Empire State Building, Lands on Iowa Woman

Jan. 28, 1947, comic

Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.

Yet another of the kind of story that would never see Page 1 of The Times, but was featured on the front of the Examiner, with a picture inside of a detective crouching over Gordon’s mangled remains.

However, The Times did run one interesting story in 1954 about Mirror reporter Cliff Dektar persuading a man not to jump off a building. As Dektar told a recent meeting of the OFTS (a group of retired Times employees), he and photographer Delmar Watson went up to the roof of the building 802 N. Vermont Ave. and Watson got pictures of him persuading the man not to kill himself.

On their way down in the elevator, Dektar said, he met a Herald reporter and photographer on their way up to the roof. It was a great day, Dektar said, “I saved a life and beat the competition.”

Man Plunges
86 Stories

Empire Building Leaper
Falls on Woman

NEW YORK, Jan. 28—(AP) A man identified as David H. Gordon Jr. leaped 1,000 feet to his death today from the 86th floor observation tower of the Empire State Building.

He evaded efforts of guards and another spectator to prevent him from jumping.

The body crashed onto Mrs. Frances Coover, 51, of Ames, Iowa, who was walking along 34th Street. Mrs. Coover was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where she was reported to be suffering from multiple fractures.

The man, who was identified from papers in his pockets, took an elevator to the tower of the building, tallest in the world.

Chief Petty Officer James Lambert, who was looking out over the city, said the man removed his hat, coat and gloves and then put one foot on the parapet.

”What are you going to do?” Lambert asked.

“I’m going to jump,” the man replied.

Lambert said he tried to dissuade the man and shouted for help.

Max Furman, an assistant state attorney general, identified Gordon as his nephew and said the victim was 28 years old.

The hospital reported Mrs. Coover had suffered a possible fracture left arm, possible fractured neck and the skin was ripped from her left foot below the instep. She was conscious, but was suffering from shock.

Mrs. Coover’s husband is head of the electrical department at Iowa State College. He came here with his wife to attend an engineering meeting.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947, Comics, Suicide and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jan. 28, 1947: Man Leaps From Top of Empire State Building, Lands on Iowa Woman

  1. Eve says:

    I had to go searching, and poor Mrs. Coover survived and returned to Iowa two months later, and–if this is the same woman–lived till 1980. With, no doubt, a somewhat jaundiced view of New York and an unwillingness to watch King Kong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jacko62 says:

    Newspapers are better than history books. I pray that they survive and thank you Larry for your efforts here!


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