Lowell Historical Society

Lowell History Chronology

Bust of Benjamin Franklin Butler, Civil War General, Congressman, and Governor

Bust of Benjamin Franklin Butler, Civil War General, Congressman, and Governor

1880 Open hostility to French-Canadians by several ethnic and labor groups.
  O'Donnell and Gilbride, a clothing store, opened by Irish immigrants.
  Charles Stuart Parnell's visit
  Seventy-first meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions held in Lowell
  Chase and Faulkner's Mills burned.
1880-81 Frederic T. Greenhalge, Mayor
1881 St. Jean Baptiste procession is organized in response to anti-French-Canadian propaganda.
  J. H. Guillet founds L'Abeille, the first Franco-American daily newspaper in the United States
  Lowell, with Guillet, open a night school for French at Common Street school, more than 400 enroll.
  Formation of the Free Sons of Israel
  Electric Light Company formed.
  Death of John A. Lowell and Charles Stott
  Free text-books introduced in schools
  City Council voted to introduce high service water system
  Associated Charities organized
  Yellow Tuesday, September 6
  Citizens vote to build Aiken Street Bridge
  Death of Hocum Hosford
  American Bolt Company incorporated
1882 John J. Donovan is elected the first Irish Mayor of Lowell.
  Death of Theodore H. Sweetser, Josiah Gates and Rev. E. B. Foster
  Central Bridge burned
  Citizen Newspaper Company incorporated
  George Runels, Mayor
1883 St. Joseph's School opens, the first Franco-American school in the diocese.
  Erie Telephone Company formed in Lowell
  Death of Rev. Theodore Edson, Drs. Daniel Holt and Walter Burnham
  Fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Edson Grammar School celebrated
  City Council voted to make City Library free, and to open a free reading room
  Aiken Street and Central bridges finished
  The New England Telephone and Telegraph Company organized
  Fiftieth anniversary of Paige Street Free Baptist Church celebrated
  November 18, standard time went into effect
1883-84 John J. Donovan, Mayor
1884 Death of Daniel Ayer
  Colwell Motor fraud
  Death of Charles P. Talbot, Moses Whittier, Charles Morrill, J. S. Pollard, Horace J. Adams, and John A. Knowles
  Pickering Knitting Company established
1885 Naturalization Club is founded to serve French-Canadian immigrants.
  Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church is founded.
  Lowell Day Nursery starts.
  Death of Judge Crosby, Dr. John O. Green and Edward Tucke
  Taylor Street Bridge finished
  Edward J. Noyes, Mayor
1886 First issue of L'Etoile, a French-Canadian newspaper.
  Statue of Liberty is dedicated; stairs built by Lowell Company.
  April 1, semi - centennial of the incorporation of Lowell as a city
  Death of Charles Hovey and William C. Gray
  Lowell Co-operative Association organized
1886-87 James C. Abbott, Mayor
1887 Founding of St. Jean Baptiste Church (French-Canadian Roman Catholic).
  L'Union St. Joseph builds headquarters at 266 Dutton Street. (First non-tenement, non-parish French structure in the city) at cost of $20,000.00
  Whittier Cotton Mills incorporated
  Death of Rev. Owen Street, Alvan Clark (telescope lens maker), and William A. Burke (of Lowell Machine Shop)
  Pilling Shoe Company established
  Middlesex Safe Deposit and Trust Company incorporated
  Lowell and Dracut Street Railway Company chartered
1888 J. H. Guillet, Lowell's first Franco-American lawyer, admitted to bar.
  Criterion Knitting Company incorporated
  Death of Dr. Joel Spaulding
1888-90 Charles D. Palmer, Mayor
1889 Yorick Club is founded by Yankee businessmen.
  New Opera House opened.
  July 17, Horse Railroad Stable burned with 117 horses and 31 cars
  August 15, President Benjamin Harrison visits
  Death of Rev. S. W. Hanks, A. B. French, and Dr. Nathan Allen
  Thorndike Manufacturing Company organized.
1890 Lowell Board of Trade started
  April 14, celebration by the Port Royal Society of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the restoration of the Federal Flag over Fort Sumter
  Death of Frank F. Battles
  Corner stones of new City Hall and Memorial Hall laid
  Death of Jefferson Bancroft
  Erection of Armory on Westford Street
  Death of William M. Hoar and Jacob Nichols
  The Dracut strike
  Death of Luther E. Shepard, Daniel S. Richardson, Amos B. French, A. B. Wright, Joseph L. Sargent, and S. T. Lancaster
  Lowell Trust Company organized
  Public Market and Packing Company incorporated
1890s First Russian Jews arrive in Lowell.
1890s Typhoid epidemics
1891 Greeks begin working in the textile mills.
  Massachusetts Mohair Plush Company incorporated
  June 2, death of Judge J. G. Abbott
  Erection of Westminster Presbyterian Church
  Erection of St. Peter's Church commenced
  Grand reception to the three distinguished generals of the Civil War-Banks, Sickles, and Butler
  Death of Leonard Brown, Rev. Horatio Wood, Jared P. Maxfield, and John F. Howe
  Cornerstone of Odd Fellows Building laid
  Post Office, corner Appleton & Gorham, commenced
1891-92 George W. Fifield, Mayor
1892 YWCA is founded to help promote American values
  Frank Notini (Italian) starts Cigar and Tobacco Shop on Middlesex Street
  Swedish Methodist Church is established
  Death of James B. Francis, September 18
  Death of Dr. Robert Wood
  Erection of Highland Club House
  Death of Amos A. Blanchard and Henry J. Noyes
  Death of John Stott, Francis Carl, and William S. Bennett
1893 Israel Brotherhood Society (5¢ Club) is organized to provide medical care and death benefits for its members. Also built Jewish cemetery in Pelham, NH when denied a permit for a cemetery in Lowell.
  French-Canadian High School for boys started
  Lowell General Hospital started
  Lowell City Hall and Memorial Hall built.
  Start of Electric Trolley System in Lowell
  McIntire Street Synagogue organized (Khilor Jacobe)
  College St. Joseph, elementary school for boys, is started.
  Jan. 12, death of General B. F. Butler, death of Joseph King Flint
  Consumers' Brewing Company incorporated
  Death of Jonathan P. Folsom, William D. Butler, John H. Coggeshall, William H. Sherman
  Moody School dedicated
  Death of William Hart
  Associate Building completed
  Death of Charles R. Nichols
  Court Butler instituted
  Lowell General Hospital completed
  Death of David Hale
1893-94 John J. Pickman, Mayor
1894 Various Yankee social organizations are organized: Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) chapter, Middlesex  Women's Club, Vesper Country Club.
  First Greek coffeehouses begin appearing
  Death of Drs. Oliver A. Willard, George T. Grierson and J. A. Masta. Death of Abel E. Conant, Chief of police Howard, George S. Cushing, George W. Howe
  Northern Depot completed
  Death of David M. Collins, Dr. G. J. Bradt, Dr. J. B. Hayes, and William H. Mead.
  American Missionary Association convened in Lowell October 24
  Death of Samuel M. Chase
  Merrimack Croquet Company, Courier-Citizen Company and Fifield Tool Company incorporated
1895 First Greek Orthodox service is held at Associate Hall
  Washington-Acropolis Society started (Greek)
  Portuguese Benefit Society is founded
  L'Union Franco-Americaine started
  Courier-Citizen Corporation is formed.
  Vox Populi discontinued
  Death of P. J. Hoar, John W. Read, Rev. Andre M. Garin, E. B. Quinn, Hon. Joshua N. Marshall, John A. Sheppard, Frederick A. Holden, George W. Patterson, Atis Osgood, and Lucius W. Huntington
  California Knights Templar visit Lowell
  Death of Cleveland J. Cheney, Oliver A. Richardson, Charles C. Coburn, and Aaron Brown
  Finance Commission appointed
1895-97 William F. Courtney, Mayor
1896 Lawrence Manufacturing Company switches from cloth production to cotton.
  Completion of St. Jean Baptiste Church at cost of $203,000.00
  Merrimack Woolen Mills Company incorporated
  Horse deal scandal
  Death of Solomon Danforth, Walter E. Owen, John W. Duxbury, Hapgood Wright, Seth Pooler, Moses G. Howe, Francis Jewett, and William Merchant Richardson
  March 5, death of Governor Greenhalge, of Lowell, death of A. P. Bonney and Stephen Sargent
  New Lawrence Street Railroad Bridge completed
  Death of Edward K. Perley
  Grace Universalist Church dedicated
  January 3, Rev. William H. O'Connell, a native of Lowell, left Boston for Rome, Italy, to assume the Presidency of the American College.
  Thirtieth Encampment of Massachusetts GAR held in Lowell February 12.
  James Duckworth, Treasurer of the Lowell Hosiery Company, died March 10, aged 56 years
  Governor Greenhalge buried March 11, 1896
  March 13, Greenhalge Day in the public schools
  February 28, presentation of marble bust of Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge to the State by Lowell citizens
  March 2, Merrimack River overflows its banks.
1897 The Pawtucketville Social Club provides naturalization services to French-Canadians
  Congregation of Jacob is founded
  State Normal School completed
  Jan. 4, an amendment to the City Charter, the work of the Finance Commission of 1895, took effect, which transferred the power to appoint and remove city officers from the City Council to the Mayor, who exercised it one day, when the law was changed.
  January, Lowell Textile School opened
  March 9, Edward R. Donovan, J. C. Donovan, and B. D. O'Connell were held in the Police Court on charge of bribery
  April 5, the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church convened in Lowell
  Moody Street Bridge and new County Court House finished.
1898 Harvard Brewery started by Germans
  CCA Club de Citoyens Americains founded - local naturalization club on Market Street
  Scottish immigrant Alexander Cumnock becomes the Treasurer of the Appleton Corporation.
  James W. Bennett, Mayor
1899 O'Sullivan Rubber Company started (Irish inventors of rubber boot heels.)
  Apostolos A. Johnson a Greek immigrant opens a drug store on Market Street
  Sons of Montefiore Synagogue organized on Howard Street
  Lowell Manufacturing Company sells out to Bigelow Carpet Company.
1899-1900 Jeremiah Crowley, Mayor
1900 Charles H. Allen of Lowell becomes first civil governor of Puerto Rico.
  Lowell population 94,969; 43% are foreign born
  The Yiddish - speaking Lowell Workmen's Circle is formed exhibiting strong socialist sympathies
1900-05 Tuberculosis epidemic especially in Greek community
1901 St. Casimir's Church is started to serve the Polish community.
  State requires mill workers to speak English
1901-02 Charles A. R. Dimon, Mayor
1902 Anshe Sfard Synagogue ("Russian Shul") organized by Russian Jews
  Ohabe Shalom Shul ("Litrac Shul") organized by Lithuanian Jews at 63 Howard Street.
  Old Resident's Historical Association becomes the Lowell Historical Society
  William E. Badger, Mayor
1903 Anticipating a strike, all Lowell textile mills lock out workers.
  Ladies Hebrew Helping Hand Society
  Typhoid epidemic
1903-04 Charles E. Howe, Mayor
1904 Holy Trinity Polish Roman Catholic Church is founded
  St. Louis de France parish is founded in Centralville.
1905 Centralville Social Club is organized by French-Canadians
  Boott Mills is reorganized
  Lowell Chapter of the Polish Falcons is formed
1905-06 James B. Casey, Mayor
1906 Construction of the Greek Holy Trinity Church begins
1907 Bigelow Carpet Company refuses to hire Greeks and claims their strike activity against the company is the primary reason.
  St. Stanislaus School (Polish)
  Lowell Women's Falcons (Polish)
1907-08 Frederick W. Farnham, Mayor
1908 St. Anthony's Church opens to serve the Portuguese community.
  Greek Holy Trinity Church opens
  Notre Dame de Lourdes parish and grammar school started in Highlands
  Franco-American orphanage started
1909 St. Joseph's Church (Lithuanian); formerly the Polish St. Casimir's Church
  George H. Brown, Mayor
1910 Dom Polski (Polish National Home) Club is formed
ca. 1910 Armenian Church opens
ca. 1910 Notre Dame de Lourdes Church (French) opens.
1910 Harry Pitts a British immigrant and former textile worker opens the Pitts Auto Supply Store the largest business of its kind north of Boston; also supported baseball teams locally.
  Ideal Credit Union (Jewish) started; eventually merged with Highland & Lowell Credit Unions to form the Highland Credit Union in 1975
1910-11 John F. Meehan, Mayor
1911 Jeanne D'Arc Credit Union started
  King Dom Carlos of Portugal assassinated; his cousin, Bishop Henry da Silva, decides to stay in US at Lowell's St. Anthony's
  Society of Thaddeus Kosciuszko started
  New St. Casimir's Church
1912 A. A. Johnson & Co., a cigarette factory, is opened by Greek immigrants
  Italians found St. Anthony's Society, a mutual aid society
  April 29, Former President Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft visit
  Lowell Machine Shop is incorporated into the Saco-Lowell Shops.
  Lowell's most celebrated union victory; Greeks play pivotal role
1912-13 James E. O'Donnell, Mayor
1912-31 State Representative Henry Achin serves
1913 French-Canadian businessmen and professionals found the Lafayette Club.
1913-25 John Jacob Rogers Representative in Congress
1914-15 Dennis J. Murphy, Mayor
ca. 1915 "Battle of the Knives" - fight between Greeks and Irish
1916 Bigelow Carpet Company leaves Lowell
1916-17 James E. O'Donnell, Mayor
1918 International Institute is founded to assist with naturalization and promote American values.
  Middlesex Company ceases production
1918-19 Flu epidemic
1918-21 Perry D. Thompson, Mayor
1919 Syrian-Lebanese community opens St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church
1920 Lowell population 112,759; 34% are foreign born
  Polish American Men's Citizens Club of Lowell
  Red Scare; arrests by local and federal agents in Lowell
  Eamon de Valera visits Lowell
ca. 1920 Church of All Nations started in Acre.
1922 Jack Kerouac is born
  George H. Brown, Mayor
  September, Lowell Memorial Auditorium is dedicated by Vice President and future President Calvin Coolidge.
1922-23 Founding of the American Hellenic Educational Protective Association (AHEPA) in Atlanta, and the Greek American Progressive Association (GAPA) in Pittsburgh.
1923 Transfiguration Church is founded as a result of a split in the Greek community.
  Ste Jeanne D'Arc Church started in Pawtucketville
  Holy Ghost Society for Portuguese education and recreation started; 2 1/2 acres of land on Village Street.
  Laganas Shoe Manufacturing Company opens on Market Street (Greek)
1923-26 John J. Donovan, Mayor
1925 Polish American Women's Political Club
1925-60 Edith Nourse Rogers takes over as Representative after her husband dies
1926 Suffolk Mills is sold
  Lawrence Manufacturing Company is sold
  Hamilton Manufacturing Company ceases production
1927 Temple Beth-El is founded
  Temple Beth-El (Conservative Jews) buys Highlands Club and establishes congregation in upper Highlands; members move to new neighborhood.
  Appleton Manufacturing Company moves South
  Massachusetts Mills is sold; production ceases
  Tremont Mills shuts down
1927-28 Thomas J. Corbett, Mayor
1928 Occupation of Greek Holy Trinity Church by dissidents is followed by a fight on the church steps and the eventual founding of St. George's Church.
  Saco-Lowell Shops ends production in Lowell
1929-31 Thomas H. Braden, Mayor
1930 Lowell population 100234; 26% foreign born
  Start of St. Joseph's Hospital (French; formerly the Lowell Corporation Hospital)
  Greek immigration to US limited to 307 per year
1931 Ste. Marie's Parish, in South Lowell started
  Lowell chapter of AHEPA is formed
  Shoe industry is the largest employer in Lowell
1932-33 Charles H. Slowey, Mayor
1933 Repeal of Prohibition, Harvard Brewery resumes beer making.
  Start of Pulaski Club
  Strike among shoe workers; Laganas Shoe Company
1934-35 James J. Bruin, Mayor
1935 The end of electric street cars in Lowell
  French-Canadian Dewey Archambault is elected mayor.
  Violence erupts between Greek union and non-union shoe workers at Laganas
1936-39 Dewey G. Archambault, Mayor
Late 1930's Shoe industry is in decline
1938 40% of population is on relief
  Successful Textile Union election occurs at Merrimack Manufacturing Company.
1939 "Slum clearance" policies result in the demolition of numerous Greek-owned properties in the Acre. Creation of North Common Village public housing project.
1939-45 World War II - cultural watershed for GI's and families, plus new better paying jobs in electronics and weapons factories.
1940 Lowell population 101,389
1940-43 George T. Ashe, Mayor
1941 Boott and Merrimack Mill strikes led by Louis Vergados
1943 Joseph J. Sweeney, Acting Mayor
1944-45 Woodbury F. Howard, Mayor
1944-52 John J. Flannery, City Manager
1945 Dr. Paul C. Panagiotakos, first Greek elected to School Committee
late 1940s New wave of Greek immigration begins as a result of war displacements.
1946 Golden Gloves in Lowell begin
  Prince Macaroni begins operations in Lowell
1946-47 Leo A. Roy, Mayor
1948 Rocky Marciano wins Golden Gloves title in Lowell
  Body of Thomas "Tracy" Megdanis returned to Lowell; first dead Greek-American war veteran
1948-49 George A. Ayotte, Mayor
1949 Temple Emmanuel (first Reformed Temple) started
1950 Lowell population 97,249; 20% foreign born
  Kerouac's Town and the City is published.
  Wannalancit Textile Company moves into former Suffolk Mills
  William G. Geary, Mayor
1951-1952 George C. Eliades, Mayor Lowell's first Greek mayor.
  October 16, President Harry Truman has whistle stop speech at The Depot.
  October 21, Dwight Eisenhower has whistle stop speech at The Depot.
1952-53 Henry Beaudry, Mayor
1952-53 Ulysses J. Lupien, City Manager
1953 Dedication of monument honoring Greek-American war dead (Dummer & Broadway Streets)
1953-61 Frank Barrett, City Manager
1954-55 John Janas, Mayor - Lowell's first Polish mayor
1954 September 28, V.P. and future President Richard Nixon receives honorary degree at Lowell Technical Institute.
1956 Hispanic families with ties to Ft. Devens locate in Lowell
  Boott Mills close
  September 27, Congressman and future President John F. Kennedy receives honorary degree at Lowell Technical Institute.
1956-59 Samuel S. Pollard, Mayor
1957 Joan Fabrics purchases its first factory in Lowell
1958 Merrimack Co. shuts down
1960 Lowell population 92,107
  Demolition of Merrimack Mills
1960s Wannalancit Textile Co. recruits Columbian workers
1960-61 Raymond J. Lord, Mayor
1961-73 F. Bradford Morse Representative in Congress
1962 Demolition of Little Canada begins
1962-63 Joseph M. Downes, Mayor
1962-63 Cornelius Desmond, Jr., City Manager
1963-66 P. Harold Ready, City Manager
1964-65 Ellen A. Sampson first woman Mayor
late 1960s Puerto Rican workers at Joan Fabric's factories in New Jersey transfer to Lowell.
1966-67 Edward J. Early, Jr., Mayor
1966-70 Charles A. Gallager, City Manager
1968-69 Robert C. Maguire, Mayor
1969 Jack Kerouac dies
  Wannalancit Textile Company begins recruiting Colombian workers
  Beginning of "Model Cities" program
1970 Lowell population 94,280; 9% foreign born
1970-71 Richard P. Howe, Mayor
1970-74 James L. Sullivan, City Manager
1970s Lowell begins a period of economic revival as many high-tech companies open plants.
1972 Michael Dukakis who had family connections to Lowell, is elected Governor of Massachusetts.
1972-73 Ellen A. Sampson, Mayor
1973-75 Paul W. Cronin Representative in Congress
1974 Founding of UNITAS, serving the Hispanic community
  Starting of Lowell Heritage State Park
1974-75 Armand W. Lemay, Mayor
1974-75 Paul J. Sheehy, City Manager
1975 Beginning of Vietnamese immigration to Lowell
  Lowell State and Lowell Tech merge to form University of Lowell.
  Lowell population 91,177
  12% unemployment in Lowell
1975-79 Paul Tsongas Representative in Congress
1976 Lowell Museum's "Spindle City" exhibit opens
1976-77 Leo J. Farley, Mayor
1978 Paul Tsongas, former Lowell City Councilor, is elected to the U. S. Senate
  Lowell National Historical Park is established.
1978-79 Ray Rourke, Mayor
1979 Beginning of Cambodian and Laotian immigration to Lowell
  Benjamin Butler's mansion at 333 Andover street is demolished.
  Wang Laboratories names Lowell its international headquarters
1980-81 Robert Maguire, Mayor
1980 Lowell population 92,418; 9% foreign born
  First Puerto Rican Festival committee is formed
  "El Show Sin Nombre" - first Hispanic radio show in Lowell, based at Unitas
1981 Closing of Wannalancit Company.
1982-83 Brendan Fleming, Mayor
1982 Coalition for a Better Acre is formed
  Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center opens
1983 Greek immigrant monument at Cardinal O'Connell Parkway
1984-85 Brian Martin, Mayor
1985 Lowell's first Buddhist temple is founded
  Greek cultural center at Dummer & Broadway Streets
  Grace Shoe Company, last major shoe factory, closes
1986-87 Robert Kennedy, Mayor
1986 Closing of St. Peter's Church
  4.1% unemployment in Lowell
  Hellenic Cultural Center opens
1987 Tsongas Industrial History Center created by cooperative agreement between University of Lowell and Lowell National Historical Park.
  Major fire in the old Lawrence Manufacturing Company Mill
1988-89 Richard Howe, Mayor
1989 Another big fire in Lawrence Manufacturing Company buildings.
  Mogan Cultural Center opens
1990-91 Richard Howe, Mayor
1990 Lowell Folk Festival begins. Occurs every last full weekend in July.
  Middlesex Community College (MCC) establishes permanent Lowell campus in former Wang training center in Kearney Square.
1991 University of Lowell becomes University of Massachusetts Lowell
1992-93 Tarsy Poulios, Mayor
1992 Boott Cotton Mills Museum opens
  Wang files for bankruptcy protection.
1994-95 Richard Howe, Mayor
  Iconic Wang towers sold at auction for $525,000. Now called Cross Point Towers
1996-97 Edward "Bud" Caulfield, Mayor
1996 Tearing down of St. Peter's Church
  Construction of Paul E. Tsongas Hockey Arena starts
  Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team arrives
1997 American Textile History Museum opens in Lowell
  Construction of Edward Lelacheur Baseball Stadium starts
  Paul Tsongas dies
1998-99 Eileen Donoghue, Mayor
1998 Lowell Lock Monsters Minor League Hockey Team begins play. Later becomes Lowell Devils.
  President William Clinton visits Lowell for a Marty Meehan fundraiser.
2000-01 Eileen Donoghue, Mayor
2000 Lowell population 105,167; 22% foreign born.
2001 Former President George W. Bush visits Lowell for MCC Celebrity Forum.
2002-03 Rita Mercier, Mayor
2004-05 Armand Mercier, Mayor
2006-07 William F. Martin, Mayor
2007 Former Congressman, Marty Meehan becomes Chancellor of UMass Lowell.
2008-09 Edward "Bud" Caulfield, Mayor.
2008 The movie Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais is filmed in Lowell
2009 The movie The Fighter portraying Lowell native Micky Ward is filmed in Lowell starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.
  UMass Lowell purchases former Doubletree (Hilton) Hotel. Now called UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.
  Ed McMahon, Lowell native and Johnny Carson's sidekick dies in Los Angeles, CA.
2010-2011 James L. Milinazzo, Mayor
2010 Lowell population 106,519
  UMass Lowell acquires Tsongas Arena from City of Lowell; renames Tsongas Center.
2011 UMass Lowell purchases former St. Joseph's Hospital. Largely demolishes and rebuilds as University Crossing.
2012 UMass Lowell Athletics becomes Division 1.
2012-2013 Patrick O. Murphy, Mayor - at age 29, youngest Mayor in Lowell's history.
2013 Pow Wow Oak on Clark Road in Belvidere, dated to the 1700s, is removed due to safety concerns.
  Over 90% of downtown Lowell's 5.2 million square feet of mill space rehabilitated.
  Richard P. Howe bridge completed connecting Merrimack Street with University Avenue. Replaces Textile Memorial Bridge slated for demolition.

Prepared by Richard F. Leach

2013 update by Eileen Loucraft

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