The newspapers called it "The Ice War." Posts about Milwaukee River written by MilwaukeeNotebook. Many of these people had lived around Green Bay before migrating to the Milwaukee area around the time of European immigration. Sign up for our Wisconsin Family newsletter for ideas on family-friendly things to do delivered to your inbox. It is about 104 miles long. There's the river to marvel at and to throw sticks and stones into. As they enter our Harbor, boaters have the option of exploring the KK River (south), the Menomonee River (west) and the Milwaukee River which winds through Downtown Milwaukee. There are trees, benches and tables that are perfect for picnics. There's plenty of room for running around, throwing a ball around and just playing. The thing about the Streets is that it's so fascinating to see what the places we're all so familiar with looked like 100 years ago. A typical Wisconsin Lake Ice Co. operation is shown in this photo. This design was insufficient for numerous reasons: the population of the area was too great, the waters smelled horrible, and there were fears of disease and contaminated drinking water. It's also the type of thing that is just as interesting to kids as it is to adults. Workers moved in with saws, long chisels, and steel-tipped pikes and systematically broke off sections and floated them to a conveyor, which carried the ice blocks through a rotating planer. It's a little shocking to walk out of a residential neighborhood, right in the city, through a little bit of park and all of a sudden come upon a giant river. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1597166322662-mid-article-1'); }); Homeowners contracted with an ice company by purchasing coupon booklets in advance (at the turn of the 20th century, 750 pounds worth of ice cost $2 – about two days wages for a laborer), handing over a coupon each time ice was delivered. During the second half of the 20th century Milwaukee turned its back on a valuable economic resource, the three rivers that run through the heart of the City. Tons of ice. It was headquartered at 1518 E. North Ave., just two blocks from the battlefield of 1901. In the meantime many people who were entertained by the quarrel between the owners of the Goll and the Wisconsin Lakes company last winter are interestedly awaiting developments.". Onlookers and reporters thought it hilarious, but real injuries were sustained, working men had their livelihoods threatened and it all had to do with … ice. There are also the double tunnels that were built before even the amusement park came along — tunnels that were cut by the Northwestern Union Railway as it was building from downtown, and which you can now walk through for some pretty great photo opportunities. It was easy to keep food cool in winter, obviously, but summer required frequent visits from the iceman, who set huge blocks of ice into insulated tin-lined wooden iceboxes. There was, however, a small strip of land between North Lake’s new icehouse and the railroad siding. Apart from those ghosts from the past, Hubbard Park is a great place for a family to hang out after a history lesson. A squad of police marched onto the ice to prevent an all-out brawl between the crew of the boat and ice company employees. "I was walking in Gordon Park, and I came across some concrete stairs, which seem to connect from nothing to nowhere. There wasn’t much of a social safety net in those days, and jobs for common laborers tended to be seasonal. It planned to use heavy advertising to tout the purity of its lakes and capitalize on public concerns over the increasingly dirty Milwaukee River. "The fascination of history is that it's like a jigsaw puzzle," Swanson said. I spoke with Swanson about it after reading his book, and he explained how he got the idea for his book. Increasing water contamination from the growing city gradually moved the ice business northwards up the Milwaukee River. "Piece by piece, you build a sense of community by discovering who these people were. He advised parents to try to avoid looking at things with adult eyes, but to "be sensitive to what might spark your kids' interest. Hence, he added, the reason for the band. He lives in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood with his wife, three children and two cats. 4 (Summer, 1965). Milwaukee Sewer History. Swanson makes a trip like that really easy. The planer milled off the surface, where most of the dirt and debris were to be found. In the early morning hours of Monday, Jan. 21, the little steamer collided hard with a thick shelf of ice, opened a hull seam and had to call it quits. By the winter of 1892-93, the city was home to 10 wholesale ice dealers with a total winter employment of at least 1,200 people and an annual harvest of 300,000 tons – and that figure didn’t include the ice cutting and storing operations conducted by the city’s breweries, generally another 50,000 tons. Wisconsin River, river rising in Lac Vieux Desert (lake), Vilas county, northern Wisconsin, U.S., on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. We visited over July 4th weekend, 2020, and the Riverwalk was a great way to see a lot of downtown. In its second year, the Milwaukee River History Tour offers a unique view of the city from the waterway that allowed a small fur trading post to become a metropolis. Swanson realized that all those lost places in Milwaukee that seem to go nowhere, but used to go somewhere, have stories behind them. – "The Wisconsin Ice Trade," by Lee E. Lawrence, The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. Wisconsin Lakes’ last natural ice harvest was in 1923. Yes, an amusement park. The Riverwest History Society, a committee set up solely for this purpose, will publish the book. There's the story of a tiny neighborhood that residents had to … So popular, in fact, that people were willing to swim dangerously in order to cool off. There's the story of a tiny neighborhood that residents had to drive their cars across the frozen river to access. Continue reading about RiverWalk History A hike through downtown Milwaukee's skywalks: More fun than Disney World? It's maintained by the Milwaukee County Historical Society, and is open to the public on select days in the summer. The Milwaukee River is a river in the state of Wisconsin. It had substantial financial backing, experienced ice men in control and intended to be a major player in the Milwaukee market dominated by Wisconsin Lakes. The Wisconsin Lakes Milwaukee River icehouses included a pair on the west bank at North Avenue, one south of the bridge and the other north of the bridge, a third a few blocks further north, atop the bluff near the foot of Center Street on the east side of the Milwaukee Road’s Beerline track, and on the east bank the company also had an icehouse on the river south of Bradford Avenue. From there, the now uniformly-sized blocks entered the cavernous interior of the icehouse where more workers skidded them neatly into organized stacks, spreading heavy layers of insulating straw, wood shavings or sawdust as they went. Redwood City is a city on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California's Bay Area, approximately 27 miles (43 km) south of San Francisco, and 24 miles (39 km) northwest of San Jose.Redwood City's history spans its earliest inhabitation by the Ohlone people to being a port for lumber and other goods. It's really well-done, with wide sidewalks on both sides of the river, interesting variation in the pathway as you move between sections, and some cool art along the way. The system’s sole function was to carry human, animal, and industrial waste, mixed with stormwater, to the nearest river; treatment was not the remotest option. An upstart firm, the Pike & North Lakes Ice Co., built a large icehouse on an area lake. Milwaukee History In 1901, Riverwest residents battled on the frozen Milwaukee River. When you realize how big and wide the river is, your kids will find it easy to imagine the boatloads of people who traveled down the river to come to the amusement park. According to the book "The Making of Milwaukee," by John Gurda, water was key to the formation of … MILWAUKEE HISTORY History Comes To Life Milwaukee is a community where history comes to life. The Milwaukee River extends many miles north with a history … He has worked in the publishing industry for more than 25 years. In 2005, Hometown Inc. sold its 150-year-old ice business to a Canadian firm, Arctic Glacier, and closed its last remaining Milwaukee ice plant. No more ice was cut. We will rejoin the war in progress in a moment. Once the ice reached a thickness of 18 inches, workers shoveled snow off the "ice field" – the section of frozen river adjoining the icehouse – then horse-drawn plows carved deep grooves in the ice in an exact grid pattern. Vieau was a seasonal resident, and in 1818 transferred his Milwaukee … There's the story of a shipwreck on the Milwaukee River — right in the middle of downtown. To the cheerful accompaniment of its brass band, the launch proceeded to steam up and down the river smashing up the Wisconsin Lakes ice fields. However, the Milwaukee River increasingly served as an economic artery for the city’s commercial and industrial expansion, especially after the “straight cut” of 1857 that simplified entry into the confluence of the KK and the Milwaukee River, created Jones Island, and established Milwaukee as a preeminent Great Lake Port and transportation hub. But there are still lagoons left over from former mining operations. In addition to its name, the City of Milwaukee may have an even bigger debt to pay to the river: that of being the catalyst for the creation of the first settlements here. It was founded in 1849 by German immigrant John Kopmeier. Milwaukee was a good-sized city by then, with a population of 285,000 and a major industry of brewing, storing and transporting lager beer. By the turn of the century, the company employed 225 teamsters, all neatly dressed in dark blue uniforms with bright brass buttons. A park with picnic areas. Now the plot thickens. My kids and I love the Milwaukee Public Museum. History to 1820. As European settlers moved into the area, local rivers became commercial and shipping … ", 50 things to do with your kids this winter around Milwaukee, from kites on ice to Disney on Ice, Fiserv Forum's sensory rooms, sensory bags and staff training help guests cope when the games and shows are too overwhelming, There's a Toys 'R Us pop-up adventure in downtown Chicago until the end of January, FOLLOW WISCONSIN FAMILY: History. Your kids can pretend to be urban explorers on this Wisconsin hiking trail, The Scuppernong Springs nature hike is delightfully haunting — your kids will love it, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Once the center of commerce and recreation, the Milwaukee River had become one of the City's most neglected amenities. Fantastic opportunity for income producing property with many options | View 25 photos of this bed, bath, 7,405 Sq. Ice could be stored for two or three years this way. In time, the company added coal and fuel oil deliveries and operated 24 gas stations under the "Hometown" name. It's sectioned off from it as a result of the Milwaukee Cement Company digging horizontal mine shafts and creating quarries back in the early 1900s. But the six acres that are now Hubbard Park still hold on to a few reminders of its past life. I had no idea what was there, and then I researched and found out it had been the Gordon Park Boathouse.". In its second year, the Milwaukee River History Tour offers a unique view of the city from the waterway that allowed a small fur trading post to become a metropolis. The City of Milwaukee began construction of a public sewer system more than 130 years ago to carry wastewater to the surrounding rivers and to Lake Michigan. There's the story of Milwaukee's own Willy Wonka, Joseph E. Uihlein Sr. and his short-lived chocolate factory. Also, while this doesn't have anything to do with the beach and swimming hole, there's another historical artifact at Estabrook Park that your family might enjoy seeing. And, when you're finished sharing each of the stories with your kids, take the time to associate those stories of lost Milwaukee with what Milwaukee is today. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1597166322662-mid-article-2'); }); Work was suspended when it got too cold. The city's modern history began in 1795 when fur trader Jacques Vieau (1757-1852) built a post along a bluff on the east side, overlooking the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers. Once the center of commerce and recreation, the Milwaukee River had become one of the City's most neglected amenities. One of the more fascinating aspects of the study of geology is the occasional opportunity to … A park with playgrounds. Geologic History of the Milwaukee River Near Lincoln Park. Milwaukee History In 1901, Riverwest residents battled on the frozen Milwaukee River In the winter between 1900 and 1901, a pitched battle erupted … An 1881 visitor described the Milwaukee River as “a currentless and yellowish murky stream, with water like oil, and an odor combined of the effluvia of a hundred sewers.” Household sewage and horse manure were the worst of it, at least in the short term. ... All told, 403,000 people got sick from the Crypto outbreak, which was the largest waterborne illness outbreak in U.S. history. Biggs told reporters he was trying to establish an off-season river excursion service between the North Avenue dam and the Blatz Park beer garden, two miles upstream. The Milwaukee River Today For a while, the health of the Milwaukee River was in serious decline. There's the story of a shipwreck on the Milwaukee River — right in the middle of downtown. MILWAUKEE RIVER BASIN. The neighborhood’s first development was at dams on the river in the mid-1830s—one located just south of present-day Capitol Drive, the other south of North Avenue. The choice of a west side location on North Ninth Street for a third courthouse was a controversial one, but the land was acquired and the … Enjoy this sample chapter from the new book, Lost Milwaukee, by Milwaukee Notebook blogger Carl Swanson During the winter of 1900–01, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam between enraged ice harvesters and the equally violent crew of a steam-powered launch. Gage- height telemeter at station. Enjoy this sample chapter from the new book, Lost Milwaukee, by Milwaukee Notebook blogger Carl Swanson During the winter of 1900–01, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam between enraged ice harvesters and the equally violent crew of a steam-powered launch. O n August 19, 1922, Johnny Weissmueller, a former Olympian made famous for his role as Tarzan, tried and failed to break the record for the 150-yard backstroke during a swim in the Milwaukee River just upstream of North Avenue in the former impoundment formed by the North Avenue Dam. As late as 1940, the company was still operating 212 ice routes in the Milwaukee area. Ice company employees tried various obstructions to block the little steamer, including stringing a line of roped-together rowboats across the river and protecting the edges of the ice fields with wooden beams, but nothing seemed to stop the Goll. Photos (1) Aerial photo looking east-Milwaukee R. near Cedarburg, WI (2) Aerial photo looking south-Milwaukee R. near Cedarburg, WI Those former quarries created lagoons that were deep enough to swim in — but also extremely dangerous due to the hidden tunnels and dropoffs that resulted from the mining. Milwaukee or “gathering place by the water*” was built on a Great Lake and the Milwaukee Harbor welcomes vessels and other boaters to our great city. Lager must be kept cold, which meant ice. Some of the representatives of the ice company fear that they are liable to become vicious over the matter and then they will take the affair into their own hands.". They might take a subject and go with it.". Milwaukee may be known as A Great Place on A Great Lake, but equally important to our water system are our rivers.Most notable among them are the Menomonee, Milwaukee, and the Kinnickinnic, but the tributaries and the entire Milwaukee River Basin make up a system which nourishes a diverse urban ecology. The choice of a west side location on North Ninth Street for a third courthouse was a controversial one, but the land was acquired and the … The band played on, but the husky youths on board were far more than excursionists. By 1900, ice harvesting took place at several locations along the upper river, as well as on many area lakes. Impressive! COVID-19 Updates: In order to help reduce the increased spread of COVID-19, our headquarters building will be … Pollution, from agricultural, municipal and industrial sources, led to a host of problems exacerbated by a series of dams and other habitat alterations, and the river was … Most of the amusement park was eventually sold off to create residential neighborhoods. The Milwaukee RiverWalk winds through the heart of the city, tying together three distinct riverfront neighborhoods the Historic Third Ward, Downtown, and Beerline B and bringing you to the doorstep of some of the citys best restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and nightlife. A History of Port Milwaukee. An … Apr. At its height, Wisconsin Lakes owned 20 ice houses across southeastern Wisconsin, including four large operations on the Milwaukee River that employed hundreds of laborers at $1 a day, paid in cash each night. A truce was established, but the threat of renewed ice wars only really ended in 1904, when the Pike & North Lakes Ice Co. was absorbed by Wisconsin Lakes Ice Co. Its backers were said to have lost $100,000 in the failed venture – a staggering sum in those days. As if the riot-on-ice aspect wasn’t odd enough, the fighting was accompanied by jaunty music provided by a brass band aboard the launch. The war lasted six weeks, was witnessed by hundreds of spectators and was heavily reported in the city’s newspapers. Once a locus of industry, the river is now the center of a housing boom. The Milwaukee River is an approximately 100-mile long waterway that stretches from Fond du Lac County to the Port of Milwaukee. A park with dogs to look at in the dog exercise area. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram. Between 1900 and 1917, an amusement park was at this site. The company owned more than 500 delivery horses. That’s because it never happened! Turn it one way, and the sign read "25," flip it the other way and it read "50." Milwaukee or “gathering place by the water*” was built on a Great Lake and the Milwaukee Harbor welcomes vessels and other boaters to our great city. It's a transformation that began in the early 1990s when the Milwaukee RiverWalk District formed in partnership with the City of Milwaukee. First, there's the river itself. This level is the 50 percent flood meaning that there is a 50 percent chance of the river reaching this level in any given year. The beach itself lasted for 15 years before it was closed due to increasing pollution. "At the same time," the Journal continued, "the owners of that redoubtable fighting ship, the steamer Goll, which last year established an excursion route above the dam and incidentally broke up a large quantity of ice which was usually stored by the Wisconsin Lakes Ice company, are expressing some concern at the possibility of the water remaining too low all winter for the excursion business. In the winter between 1900 and 1901, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam between enraged ice harvesters and the equally violent crew of a steam-powered launch. The first recorded inhabitants of the Milwaukee area are the Menominee, Fox, Mascouten, Sauk, Potawatomi, Ojibwe (all Algic/Algonquian peoples) and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) (a Siouan people) Native American tribes. A book called "Lost Milwaukee" by Carl Swanson. 6, 1929, to Jan. 8, 1934, nonrecording gage at bridge 0.5 mi upstream at different datum. You'll notice a lagoon in the current-day Estabrook Park that may not seem like it but is actually a part of the Milwaukee River. Ice, in other words, was a huge business in the state, and Wisconsin Lakes Ice Co., based in Milwaukee, dominated the market. The ice business was born in the earliest days of the city, when a man named Henry Kroeger, also known as "Ice Bear" Kroeger, started cutting 100-pound blocks of ice from the harbor in winter and storing it in a heavily insulated icehouse for resale in the summer months. They fought off the attacks of the men of the Wisconsin Lakes Company, pried the vessel free when it stuck on ice too thick to be borne down and broken by the special prow, cut heavy strands of barbed wire strung from bank to bank, warded off heavy timbers studded with spikes launched by the defenders, and made patches when their armored vessel was holed. A great way to connect with your kids and to sneak in a little education at the same time. History During the second half of the 20th century Milwaukee turned its back on a valuable economic resource, the three rivers that run through the heart of the City. However, the boat had done so much damage that the paper said it was doubtful any further ice could be harvested that season. The Milwaukee River through the years Like a vibrant ribbon, the Milwaukee River, with its sidewalk cafes, shops, public art, green spaces, and special events, has defined development in downtown Milwaukee. As you tell your kids the stories of people swimming on the former beach, they'll be able to see it in their minds' eyes, even if the idea of diving into the lagoon that's there now doesn't seem too enticing. This went on for six weeks whenever the river re-froze. One day in winter of 1900-01, Wisconsin Lakes Ice Co. had 300 men at work harvesting ice on the upper Milwaukee River when a steam-powered launch, the Julius Goll, appeared, covered with boiler plate and equipped with an ice-breaking prow. The newspapers called it "The Ice War." Carl Swanson is a magazine editor and also blogs about his adopted hometown of Milwaukee. The results of the Milwaukee River study were dismal. Tolan wrote the history 20 years ago, as part of the Milwaukee Humanities Program, a federally funded organization based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he’s updated it over the last several years. Since the focal point of his stories is the Milwaukee River, a trip to see several of the sites is very doable, even if your kids' patience level won't last more than a morning or an afternoon. Want a great, easy way to explore the city on foot? It's a park. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet navigated from Lake Michigan through the Milwaukee River on their way to the Fox River and the Mississippi. In the winter between 1900 and 1901, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam between enraged ice harvesters and the equally violent crew of a steam-powered launch. Hundreds of years ago fur traders and French explorers navigated the Milwaukee River to trade with the Native American tribes who lived along its banks. It's interesting — and, frankly, a little haunting — to imagine the shadows of Milwaukeeans gone by. Plus, just about every one of the city’s many homes had an icebox to keep food cool. Sub-zero temperatures froze the ice channels as fast as workers could open them. MILWAUKEE COUNTY LANDMARKS City of Milwaukee Milwaukee County Courthouse 901 North 9th Street Milwaukee Landmark Designation: 1976 Milwaukee County’s first two courthouses were located east of the Milwaukee River in today’s Cathedral Square. In an October 30, 1901 article on the opening of the North Avenue dam to draw down the level of the river to facilitate sewer construction along the west bank, the Journal reported the owners of the Wisconsin Lake Ice Co. were using the occasion to reshape the shore edge to ease ice harvesting. ... All told, 403,000 people got sick from the Crypto outbreak, which was the largest waterborne illness outbreak in U.S. history. Brief history of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal. Kayaks and fishing boats share the river with party boats. The swim was covered by the Milwaukee Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune—it was a big deal. The Milwaukee River area was populated by Native Americans in the time before European settlement. Riverwest is a neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee bounded by the Milwaukee River on the east and south, N. Holton Street on the west, and E. Capitol Drive on the north. The rivers, lakes, groundwater and lands in the Milwaukee River basin sustain a wide range of plant and animal life. "About 200 Poles," the Journal breathlessly reported, "whose livelihood depends on the harvesting of the ice, are becoming aroused over the work of the Goll. And, like a lot of local families, one of our favorite exhibits is the Streets of Old Milwaukee. So there's no beach anymore. From its obscure beginnings as an Indian settlement and its hopeful days as a booming Great Lakes port, Milwaukee has emerged as a stronghold of industries and immigrants, displaying bold experiments in municipal government, and a gradual immersion in national and global affairs. In the winter between 1900 and 1901, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River … 48, No. ", The paper continued, "During the excitement on the river, a hole was punched in the 'battleship' Julius Goll, large quantities of ice cut by the Wisconsin Lake Ice Company were destroyed, 'Admiral' Biggs got a broken arm and the adherents of both sides had numerous cold baths and bruises distributed among them.". It takes a look at the lives of people who lived in Milwaukee in the late 1800s and early 1900s in an engaging way that allows you to easily imagine what was there before. Riverwalk History. RELATED: A hike through downtown Milwaukee's skywalks: More fun than Disney World? On Sunday, Jan. 20, 1901, the battle reached a fever pitch to the delight of nearly 1,000 spectators gathered on the North Avenue bridge and both banks of the river. Riverwest is a neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee bounded by the Milwaukee River on the east and south, N. Holton Street on the west, and E. Capitol Drive on the north. While Swanson is careful to point out that his book isn't an exhaustive history of Milwaukee, the anecdotes he shares and the stories he tells are a much better way to get kids — and adults — to really understand what Milwaukee was like in the past. And what used to be the parking lot for the beach is now a dog exercise area. The Someone, probably acting under the direction of the Wisconsin Lakes Co., bought this land and refused to grant North Lakes permission to cross the property, which it had to do in order to ship out its ice. So, after a morning spent with the ghosts of Milwaukee past, I was in the perfect mood to come across a book in the gift shop of the museum. The Wisconsin Lakes Co. was certain the North Lakes firm hired the boat, but the captain of the Julius Goll, a man named Biggs, wasn’t talking. From the seemingly untouched areas within the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest to the areas near cities challenged by pollution and habitat modification, one thing remains constant: our land and water resources are forever linked. Beginning in the early 1600s, traders, trappers, missionaries, and French explorers used the Menomonee, Milwaukee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers as water routes for transportation. As they enter our Harbor, boaters have the option of exploring the KK River (south), the Menomonee River (west) and the Milwaukee River which winds through Downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee began as a Great Lakes port in 1835, when the first commercial cargo vessel called at the struggling new village on the west shore of Lake Michigan. And no places to dive in and swim. About sixty miles northwest of the city, several tributaries converge to form the river near Campbellsport, and it heads east through the towns of Kewaskum , Barton , and West Bend , then veers in a zigzag fashion through the villages of Newburg , Waubeka, and Fredonia . The river is also ribboned with parks as it winds through various neighborhoods. It flows generally southward through central Wisconsin past Rhinelander, Wausau, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Wisconsin Dells (site of a scenic gorge). On a section of river that has witnessed many strange things over the years, the ice war was perhaps the strangest. To understand why these warmly dressed men are punching each other in the middle of a frozen river, you need to know why ice was once worth fighting over. Milwaukee was founded to utilize a natural harbor formed by the confluence of rivers immediately before flowing into Lake Michigan, similar to Manistee, Michigan and Benton Harbor, Michigan.The Kinnickinnic River is the southernmost of the three rivers, flowing in a generally northeastern direction towards the harbor.The Menomonee River enters from the west, and the Milwaukee River … Rock River History – The Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Have you ever heard of the the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal? As the river became more polluted, the company switched to manufacturing machine-made ice. Many workers, especially Polish immigrants settling in Riverwest, depended on ice cutting to get their families through the winters. Homeowners benefitted from locking in a set price, and the iceman didn’t have to handle money. REMARKS .--Prior to 2018, occasional regulation caused by recreation dam approximately 1,200 ft upstream. 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