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LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA.
BY REV. J. F. RICHMOND.
Lake county was formed by Act of the Legis-
lature of the State of Florida, in the spring of
the present year, 1887, from portions of Sumter
and Orange counties. It contains thirty-one
townships, embracing an area of over eleven
hundred square miles, its greatest length being
sixty miles, and its average width about eigh-
teen miles. About one-sixth of its surface is
covered with beautiful clear lakes of fresh water
from which circumstance the county ta kes its
name. -These are known as lakes H-arris, Eus-
tis, Griffin, Dunham, Dora, Yale, Minnehaha
and Minneola. Lake Apopka, containing near-
ly sixty square miles, lies in Orange county at
the south-eastern border of Lake county, and
Lake George, another vast body, beiig a parU of
the St. Johns river, also skirts Lake county at
its northern apex.
That particular district of peninsular Florida,
so long and so favorably known as the Lake
Region, is now principally embraced in Lake
The central figure in the county is Lake Harris,
covering about eighteen square miles of territory,
surrounded for the most part with high, beauti-
ful banks forming the site of several charming
towns, the adjacent territory presenting many
pleasing orange groves, villas and gardens. Pas-
sing eastward through Dead River, one-half
mile, one enters Lake Eustis, another beautiful
sheet of water of oval shape, several miles in
extent, surrounded by a smiling country and
by pretty towns.
Lake Griffin, separated at points from Harris
and Eustis by narrow points of land only, stret-
ches into the north-western portion of the coun-
ty. This lake is about two and a half by six-
teen miles in extent and has also great natural
Lakes Minneola and Minnehaha are situated
in the southern extremity of the county, each
being several miles in extent, surrounded by a
high, salubrious country. All these lakes are
navigable and have in constant operation a num-
ber of well equipped little steamboats.
Besides the appliances of navigation, the coun-
ty is admirably supplied with railroads. The
Orange Belt road, extending from Lake Mon-
roe on the St. Johns to Point Pinallis on the
Gulf, passes through the southern portion of the
county, and, on its line, are located Minneola,
Clermont and Mascotte. Villa City is also near
this line. The Tavares, Atlantic & Gulf road,
starting at Tavares, passes along Lake Apopka
to Mount Verde, and thence to Minneola and
Clermont. The St. Johns and Lake Eustis, the
first constructed, line of this region, has passed
into the hands ot the Florida Southern Railway
Company and is a part of their general system
of roads around these lakes extending north-
x ard to Palatka and Gainesville and southward
to Tampa and Charlotte Harbor.
The line of the Florida Railway & Navigation
Company enters the county coming southward
from the Atlantic seaboard and has depots at
Whitney, Montclair, Leesburg, Sunny Side, El-
dorado and Tavares, where it connects with a
line, passing Ellsworth and Victoria, extending
to Orlindo, and with another line passing thro'
Mount Dora and Sorrento to Sanford-near these
last named lines are situated also Tangerine, In-
dian Springs and Seneca. The Florida South-
ern Railway, extending southward through Lake
county, has depots at Conant, Lady Lake, Chet-
wynd, Fruitland Park, Leesburg, Corley Island,
Helena, Okahumpka and Cason, on its trips to
Tampa and Charlotte Harbor. The same line
also extends from Leesburg around Lake Eustis
and partly around Lake Harris with depots at
Grandview, Belle'reva, Lanier, Tillson, Orange
Bend, Lisbon, Lancaster, Grand Island, Higley
(a few miles from Lisbon), Fort Mason, Eustis,
Mount Homer, Tavares 'and Lane Park. Also
from Fort Mason to the St. Johns with depots
at Umatilla, Giendale, Altoona, Pittman, Ra-
venswood, Summit, Sellers Lake, Cummings,
Bryansville and Astor.
A company of leading citizens has just been
organized to construct The Leesburg and Lake
Region Delivery R. R. The project is to con-
struct a line from Leesburg around the south-
side of Lake Harris, passing through Riverside,
Parkland, Bloomfield and Yalaha to Stewart's
Landing on Lake Apopka; also to Lane Park
via Astatula. This line is further projected to
encircle Lake Griffin, touching several import-
ant points, including Picciola, Slighville, and
Emeralda Island. These great lakes, being
everywhere skirted with rich hammocks (gar-
den lands,) with scores of miles of orange groves
already fruiting 'along their banks, and the
certainty that the near future will bring into
industrial requisition all these available acres,
forces the necessity of a Delivery Railway with
immense packing houses, cold storage applian-
ces and other agencies for the successful market-
ing uf our products. Along the line of this
proposed railway it is estimated that one-sev-
enth of the present orange crop of the State is
grown and the district is susceptible of almost
indefinite further development.
Another important scheme now agitated is to
effect a partial drainage of these immense lakes
by the deepening and straightening of the
channels of the Ocklawaha and of the Withla-
coochee rivers, inserting occasional locks so as
to make a canal for steamboats connecting the
Atlantic with the Gulf. The abundant supply
of water in our great lakes here on the highest
ridge of the peninsula, with deep natural chan-
nels already partially cut, afford by far the
cheapest opportunity for the United States gov-
ernment to connect the Atlantic and the Gulf.
The lowering of these lakes a few feet would re-
reclaim for cultivation in Lake county at least
one hundred thousand acres of saw grass land
now coming to be recognized as the richest gar-
den and sugar cane land of the world. An in-
calculable amount of cypress timber growing
along the margin of these lakes and streams
would also be made available.
Lake county, it will thus be seen, is over-
spread with a net-work of railroads and water
lines equal to the best of the older States. No one
is settled or can settle in Lake 'county far from
a rairoad, and most families already have the
choice of two or three lines. Tne Palatlacaha
River brings down the waters from the Minne-
ola group of lakes to Lake Harris, and its vine-
clad banks for more than twenty miles lie in
great measure awaiting the settler. Riverside,
near Lake Harris, aid Villa City, several miles
southward, are the only towns begun along the
banks of this charming stream.
The southern portion of Lake county may be
justly pronounced the water-shed of the penin-
sula, and the entire county rests on the highest
portions of South Florida. From these collect-
ed waters the crooked Ocklawaha pursues its
devious way to the Atlantic;. the Withlacoochee
begins its passage to the Gulf of Mexico; here
the Hillsborough River starts for Tampa Bay,
and the Kissimmee for Lake Okeechobee and
Nature has here in her best style fitted a mag-
nificent semi-tropical region with ample space
for a million people. The altitude of this dis-
trict, midway between the Atlantic and Gulf,
affords its people constant, pure sea breezes with
slight extremes of heat and eold. No chronic
diseases are found here among old residents, and
there is a gratifying relief from rheumatism,
diphtheria, scarlet fever, measl-s, pneumonia,
small-pox and cholera. Persons suffering from
any bronchial, asthmatic or catarrhal troubles
are almost certain to find relief amid the pure,
balsamic breezes of these elevated pine forests,
unless lingering in the last stages of phthisis.
People die here of old age, of accident, and
of carelessness, but a well adjusted home in this
region with appropriate gardens and groves,
with a contented mind and a united family
brings one as near to the Adamic Paradise as
anything he is likely to find in this world.
'Lake county has at this writing a taxable
valuation (rated at about one-fourth its selling
value) of five millions. It is already a wealthy
county and destined to be immensely more so.
Its pine lands are rolling and beautiful, its
hammocks rich in marl and decayed vegetation.
There are no Goveinment or State lands of
particular value in our county to enter, but
there are many thousands of acres both of pine
and hammock for sale at very moderate figures.
Settlers are invited and will be welcomed all
over this county. Lands for general farming,
grazing, gardening and for the entire range of
semi-tropical productions are abundant and,
The citrus fruits are our specialty and grow
here to perfection. Indeed this is the very
heart of the "Orange Belt." -The wild orange
groves of the State were scattered profusely all
through this county, the second largest wild
grove ever found beiL g on the shores of Lakes
Harris and Griffin. These all now yield sweet
fruit and have swollen to great value.
At the World's Exposition of 1884-85 held in
New Orleans, ten citizens of Lake county, rep-
resented by Maj. O. P. Rooks, were awarded
nineteen first premiums and twelve special pre-
miums, for fruit exhibited, taking one half of
the sixty-two premiums awarded to the whole
State of Florida; said fruit being furnished by
citizens of Fruitland Park, Montclair, Orange
1jend, Sunnyside, Eldorado and Yalaha. The
Florida Fruit Growers Association won the
sweepstakes, three hundred dollars and gold
medal over California, which gold medal is now
on exhibition in Jacksonville. Two other one
hundred dollar premiums and gold medals
were fairly won by Maj. 0. P. Rooks of Fruit-
land Park and Maj. C. B. McGruder of Rock-
ledge by 19 and 21 points respectively, but were
given to California by a technicality in the word-
ing of the premium list. *
Fruit this season (1887-8) is bringing good
prices. Adam Eichelberger, of Ocala, received
returns from three car loads netting him $1,800.
The nur. ery business is a great industry high-
ly remunerative. Besides oranges, we raise
lemons, limes, grape fruit, citron, figs, plums,
peaches, apricots, dates, pears, bananas, pine
apples, persimmons etc. But we have equal
openings for the production of sugar eane, to-
bacco, rice, cotton or corn. Cattle, horses,
sheep, swine and poultry thrive here under
proper conditions. The scores of rising towns
already established present openings for nearly
every laudable undertaking. Here is scope for
the merchant, the artizan, the day laborer and
Persons wishing large or small bearing groves,
nelwy planted groves, large or small plats of
unimproved lands, can scarcely go amiss in
Lake county. Few indeed of our people ever
move away, but many have large improve-
ments and are willing to dispose of portions of
The population of our county amounts to over
twelve thousand and is of that cosmopolitan
class that gives versatility, genius, breadth and
thrift to a people. Our citizens have come from
all the North American States and some from
Europe. In politics we are so evenly balanced
that the parties respect each other and behave
with decorum. Most of our towns have no dram
shops. Gambling is everywhere suppressed.
We have no county debt, and the State has
very little debt. Our towns are well built with
good hotels, ice manufactories, churches and
schools. Schools of high grade are being es-
tablished. We have able preachers and lawyers
and skillful, educated physicians. The people
of Lake county are an educated class. Coming.
from the older States and not a few from the
chief cities of the land, they have spread abroad
the manners of polite society and established
numerous literary associations. Our merchants
are enterprising; and we have goo4 printing
offices and six weekly papers.
This Lake Region is destined to be one of the
most densely settled and productive rural dis-
tricts of America, embracing more desirable
features than almost any other similar tract of
country in the Union. One seeking a home in
Florida, or seeking places for investment,
should certainly spend a few days prospecting
in Lake county. The trip from Jacksonville
via Palatka, Gainesville, Astor or Sanford, will
cost but a few dollars and the passage by either
route will be through a rapidly developing
Clippings From the Florida Press.
The Pros and Cons.
I think of coming to Florida this winter and consid-
er it a favor if you will tell me exactly what you con-
sider the greatest advantages and disadvantages of your
State. J. C.
Florida has fewer disadvantages than any
other State. The chief drawbacks being the
lack of farm products, the absence of cellars,
and the loose nature of the soil. The first is oc-
casioned by the general rush into orange cul-
ture, to the neglect of any system of regular
farming, and to the absence of the "seasons."
The terms spring, summer, autumn and winter
lose their significance in Florida, where the
mild, even climate varies but little from year to
year. The porous nature of the soil and the
lack of material accounts for the absence of cel-
lars; while the loose, sandy soil makes walking
or driving unpleasant. Florida has no long,
dreary winters, nor hot, scorching summers;
no blizzards, cyclones, snow storms, dudes,
tramps, nor organ grinders. The coal dealer
with his short weights and long bills never vex-
es the soul in our State, where fuel may be had
for the cutting. Men work out of doors the
whole year round without inconvenience,
and even in the hottest days of summer, the
heat is always tempered with a cool breeze.
Sunstroke is absolutely unknown in Florida.
The general healthfulness of our people is such
that most physicians find their occupation gone
a great deal worse than did Othello. In the
high pine lands malaria is unknown, and even
in the low lands it exists, if at all, in a very
mild form that yields readily to treatment. In
some localities the gnats and mosquitoes are
troublesome, but less so than in many of the
Northern States. Snakes are simply bugaboos.
During a year's residence, in which we have
tramped through many miles of high and low
hammock and pine lands, we have never seen
but one snake, and that of a harmless variety.
Poisonous serpents exist here beyond doubt, and
so they do in all the Northern States from Maine
to Oregon. But we emphatically deny that they
exist in large numbers, or that anybody need an-
ticipate any danger from them. Florida offers
inducements to the manufacturer, artisan, or
merchant unequaled by any State in the Union.
Skilled labor is in great demand, trade is brisk,
and no man need remain idle save through in-
dolence. Florida is progressing more rapidly
to-day than any o er portion of the United
States or else all sigs fail.
GIVE MODEST FLORIDA A FAIR CHANCE.
Florida has a climate superior to any other
State in the Union. She has a diversified soil,
capable of producing everything needed by man,
and a good living may be made in any part of
her territory. Florida has suffered equally from
over-praise and over-criticism. Wild-eyed en-
thusiasts have lauded her to the skies, and swin-
dling land-sharks have flooded the North with
ridiculous pamphlets picturing the State as a
sort of modern Eden, and misleading people in-
to believing that in coming here they would find
a sort of Eutopia awaiting them.
CAN I SUCCEED IN FLORIDA ?
If a man has neither an honest trade nor cap-
ital, he will have a pretty hard time of it in
Florida, just as he would anywhere. He may
have neither trade nor capital, and yet, if he
'has an average amount of brains and persever-
ance, coupled with bodily health, and is willing
to rough it for a season, he will soon get ahead.
Economy and energy will accomplish wonders
in our State. He can find steady work all the
year round, and there is no long, dreary.winter
to use up the savings of the summer, as in the
North. What he saves he has, and as money
makes money rapidly here, he can, by prudent
investments, soon have a neat little capital to
work on. This is the way many of our most
successful men who, to-day, have wealth and
influence began, and the path they traveled is
open to all who choose to enter it.-Maitland
Any man who has the energy to go West with
limited means, and trust to his energy and the
smiles of Providence, and succeeds, can take the
same energy and trust to Florida and have
greater certainty of success. He has here few
grasshoppers, no snow or excessive drouth. His
wants are fewer and his hardships less. A gener-
ous soil producing perpetually,with an unlimited
supply of fish and game, and a climate that is
spring-like the year round; few sultry nights
through which to toss and sweat making one
feel more tired in the morning than before
going to bed; the noonday sun of midsummer
is tempered by a cool breeze, so that the heat is
THE FLORIDA SOUTHERN.
The Florida Southern railroad, extending
from Palatka, on the St. Johns River, a distance
of 266 miles, to Charlotte Harbor on the Gulf
Coast, is not only one of the most interesting of
routes to the tourist and traveler, but it is also
one of the most noteworthy illustrations of
Florida's rapid development during the past
few years. In it-; passage through Marion,
Lake and Hernando counties, it traverses lands
of a degree of fertility and productiveness such
as no one would dream of who has seen only
our Atlantic seaboard district, or that stretch
between Baldwin and Georgia; and in its long
sweep southward it traverses nearly every cli-
matic belt that Florida knows. It is truthfully
described as the Orange Belt Route, and the
writer was surprised to learn that forty per cent
of the total orange crop of the State is transport-
ed over this line.
THE HEALTHFULNESS OF FLORIDA.
Mr. McClure, editor of the Philadelphia (Pa.)
Times, while in Florida, investigated for him-
self many popular notions about our State, good
and bad, and has communicated the result to
the readers of his great newspaper. Among
other things he looked into the malarial fever
question, and corrects many erroneous impres-
sions thereto. He says:
"While the tide of invalids from the North to
the softer climate of Florida is rapidly multi-
plying, there is a popular apprehension that
miasma prevails in the State and that malarial
fevers are likely to greet the settler in many
sections. It is the natural assumption of those
who are not fully informed on the subject that
a new country abounding in lakes, lagoons, and
other bodies of water overflowing their channels,
or without apparent channels, must breed of
malaria; but in point of fact, as proved alike
by reason and well-tested experience, there is
less malaria in Florida than in Pennsylvania;
much less than in other Coast States of the
South. Four-fifths of the State is a peninsula,
across which sweeps the healthy breezes from
the gulf to the ocean, and there are no moun-
tains to impede their progress. The highest al-
titude does not exceed five hundred feet above
the tide and no part of Florida, except the ex-
treme northern line, is ever free from the flavor
of the sea. This fact considered in connection
with the general absence of stagnant waters,
dispels the theory of a malarious atmosphere.
Instead of the stagnant and putrid waters of the
North and West, Florida has countless subter-
ranean currents of the fresh waters from the
Apalachian range, which furnish flowing wells
of pure water by driving down through soft
earth from three to five hundred feet, and these
underground lakes feed and drain most of the
lake regions of the State. Jacksonville has an
ample supply of water from several flowing
wells just on the edge of the .ity, none of which
is over six hundred feet deep.
Of course there is malaria in Florida if the
visitor is foolish enough to hunt for it. There
are marshes here as elsewhere ; the rapid flow of
immigration and the sudden cultivation of hun-
dreds of thousands of acres; the false economy
that accepts surface water, for drinking when
wholesome water can be obtained anywhere
much cheaper from wells than in Pennsylvania
and the indolence that invites the disorders of
the Florida limestone water in the sections
where that soil prevails, must produce light
fevers here as they would produce graver dis-
ease in the North; but there is no new State
in which sickness is less common than it is in
Florida, and there is no other State in which
the diseases peculiar to the region can be so
easily and effectual'y guarded against. One of
the most prolific sources of ill-health among
settlers from the colder climate of the North is
the unwillingness to learn that the strong diet
necessary there is not only not needed here, but
is the source of many physical disorders. The
Pennsylvania mountaineer can thrive on his
pork, sausage and buckwheat cakes swimming
in grease, but when he seeks the climate of Flor-
ida he must obey the laws of nature that adapts
the growth of the climate to the needs and com-
fort of the husbandman."
A CHEERFUL OUTLOOK.
Occasionally we hear a citizen remark that he
has little faith in the orange business, little con-
fidence in its future, and we are sometimes
asked our opinion.
The writer came to Florida in 1877; he hopes
to spend all his life here, and his faith, after
mature deliberation, has been firmly reposed in
the orange industry. His conclusions are these:
First, the orange is the prettiest, healthiest,
most fragrant and luscious of fruits. For this
reason the world is not going to do without the
Secondly, a very small part of the world now
ever gets an orange. Seven-tenths of the crop
we are shipping this season go to New York,
Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and the
remaining three-tenths are divided amongst the
rest of the world.
Thirdly, of the sixty million people in the
United States, fully one-half rarely ever have
an orange to eat and they will not do without
this luscious fruit much longer.
Fourthly, the increase in production cannot
possibly keep pace with the increase in the
fruit-eating population of this Republic.
Fifthly, the orange-raising territory of the
world is much less than its apple-growing area;
there is money in apples, and as long as this is
so there will be money in oranges.
Sixthly, the orange industry of Florida,
though in its youth, being only about fifteen
years old, is a large thing, and it is going to get
larger every year for the next fifteen or twenty
years. Its hugeness has already caused the
building of railroads and will continue to cause
the increase of transportation facilities until all
the markets of this great Republic are made ac-
cessible; and with the increase of population
and of transportation facilities, no ruinous sur-
plus can possibly accumulate. Ten million box-
es in the future will find a readier sale than one
million heretofore. We have Europe for a mar-
ket as well as America.
Finally, the people of Florida and of other
States have too much invested in this business
to throw it away. They will not cease to work
until success crowns their efforts to secure im-
proved methods of shipment and marketing,
and cheap and abundant transportation facili-
ties to place their oranges at a profit in every
market of the land. The railroads have abo-
nanza in oranges which their own existence will
compel them to preserve; and, lastly, the peo-
ple of the United States like oranges too well to
fling away the crop of Florida.
Florida is not heaven, as many tourists ex-
pect to find it, but in climate and in variety of
productions, tropical and otherwise, it leads the
list of states and does not expect to ever fall
behind. One cannot turn up gold dollars when-
ever he approaches an orange tree with a hoe;
but by cultivating his grove with judgment and
patience, in due time his tree will bring in gold
that one will prize because he has toiled hard
and waited long for it, and the same may be
said of business generally in this sunny State.
The boom is swelling and many things promise
well for this "Land of Flowers."
Any one who has the opportunity and yet
fails to visit the orange groves of Lake county
this winter, will miss the most opulent and
characteristic spectacle that Florida can afford.
Lake county has six weekly papers and forty-
two post offices.
Lake county needs some gentlemen of capital
willing to loan money on the very best security
at low interest. Who will respond?
The climate of Florida is affected by the
shape of the State, by its latitude and by the
location in a great bend of that "River in the
Ocean," the Gulf Stream, the warmest water in
all oceans. A portion of this stream has come
from the Carribean Sea, has swept around the
entire Gulf of Mexico as near the shore as the
depth of the Gulf would permit its flow; it
passes the Florida reefs into the Atlantic and
turns northward. This Gulf Stream passes
within a hundred miles of the entire shore of
peninsular Florida, and all winds except those
from the north must reach the peninsula over
this heated stream. The effect upon the cli-
mate of Florida is wonderful. No correspond-
ing place exists in all the earth. There is but
THE RISING TIDE FLOWS SOUTHWARD.
Since 1868, there are thousands who have
made fortunes in Florida on comparatively
small investments; that similar opportunities
are still to be found needs no better insurance
than the fact that the wealthiest and slirewdest
corporations in the United States are at present
investing millions of dollars here-not in cheap
wild lands, to be held until the enterprise of
other owners about them enhances their value,
but in the building of magnificent hotels, rail-
road3, and other permanent improvements.
The time has come when nearly everybody is
desirous of having a proprietary interest in
this beautiful land, but many can spare but a
small amount of means, and, where nearly
every desirable locality in the State is called the
bestst" it is difficult to make up the mind where
to visit. Others, having an abundance of
means, desire to erect a beautiful villa, but find
difficulty in filling the proper requirements-an
elevated, healthy site, where pure air and pure
water abound; in a congenial neighborhood,
where there will be plenty of good society, and
where the bustle of the city is avoided; where
the soil is adapted to the culture of semi-trop-
ical fruits, ornamental trees, small fruits and
flowering plants; and conveniently accessible,
by rail, water, or drive, in the most fertile and
beautiful section of the State. Lake county of-
fers all these.
Further and particular information may be obtained
by those wishing it on addressing, with stamp en-
closed, any one of the following parties:
Geo. T. King, Villa City; W. M. Bennett, Rev. J. F.
Richmond, Okahumpka; A. J. Phares, Godfrey Bros.,
Yalaha; R. G. Humiston, Minneola; C. S. Noble, Mont-
clair; O. P. Rooks, Gardenia; D. W. Lowell, Astatula;
Barnett, Hopson, & Co., S. A. Murden, G. C. Stapylton,
Leesburg; George Hollinshed, Conant; Major Burns,
Fort Mason; L. T. Hogan, Exeter; G. H. A. Elin, Chet-
wynd; W. G. Wright, Mount Dora; Geo. A. Kirk, Mont-
verde; Sam'1 W. Teague, Lady Lake; Wm. D. Menden-
hall, Bloomfield; Winm. L. Freeland, N. B. Whitley &
Co., Tavares; J. K. Foster, Mascotte; John A. Mac-
Donald, Eustis; W. N. Jackson, Lane Park ; J. C. Comp-
ton, Postmaster, Clermont; T. C. Lanier, Lanier's; W.
W. Adams, Tangerine; Frank Hinson, Altoona; J. M.
Igou Grand Island; W. T. Laine, Lisbon; J. S. Hop-
son, Emeralda; H. B. Paxton, Sorrento.
OFFICER OF T1I L fIKK COUjWY IJIAjI-
lGIJlIOpN $,SOCI tIOtION.
REV. J. F. RICHMOND, President..........Okahumpka.
A. J. PHARES, 1st Vice President......... Yalaha.
GEO. T. KING, 2d Vice President........ Villa City.
JOHN ELLIS, 3d Vice President ........ Okahumpka.
C. H. EDWARDS, 4th Vice President...... Eustis.
W. N. JACKSON, 5th Vice President..... Lane Park.
W.' M. BENNETT, Secretary,................ Okahumpka.
G. C. STAPYLTON, Treasurer ...............Leesburg.
O. P. ROOKS, .............. ............... Gardenia)
H. A. GREEN,, ........ ... . .........Okahumpka0
E. J. M. PADGETT, .......... . ..... ...... Leesburg.
W. D MENDENTT ALL, ................... .. Bloomfield.
GEORGE T. KING, ................ ...... .. Villa City.
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