The Cross House

Discovery #6!!!!!!!!


Let the games begin!

This is the sixth in a series of Discovery posts, and all based on the Bo Adventure!


In my previous post, Discovery #5, I wrote about an oddity which Bo noticed about about the window sashes in the second-floor “tower” room in the Cross House.

The discovery was of a subtle nature. So much so that I wondered if anybody would find it of interest. So, I, ah, rather jazzed up the introduction.

However, as things have developed in the last 24-hours, my concern was unwarranted. For, Bo’s discovery has proved that, rather than being subtle, it has now totally destroyed my sense of reality.

Is your seat-belt fastened?



I did a long post on the history of the carriage house, and while I have worked on it in fits and starts it has mostly been mothballed since I purchased the Cross House. A plan however is afoot to do the minimum required to get the house livable, and then rented later this year!


The west (main) facade of the 1894 carriage house. Most of what you see on the second floor is presumably original, save the rectangular window (second from right). Everything you see on the first-floor dates, I believe, from the 1921 conversion of the structure into a house. The “tower’ room (or, more properly, turret room) is obvious.


It is possible that the carriage house was finished before the Cross House. As I wrote in my previous post, had I been the construction manager I would have done just that, to create a staging area and storage.

Mike, apparently curious about this possibility, went online and checked the old Sanborn maps of Emporia:


An 1893 Sanborn Map of the Cross House and carriage house. In 1921, I believe, the carriage house was moved forward onto the lot, and the 1-story barn wing (left) was rotated 90 degrees, and reattached to the rear of the 2-story structure.


Note that the map states that the Cross House is “being built”. But there is no such comment on the carriage house.

This might mean my supposition is correct, in that the carriage house was built first. Or it might mean that because the two structures are on one piece of property, “being built” would apply to both.

In addition, Sanborn maps are not always 100% correct.

Well, all this might explain why Discovery #5, the diamond-paned sashes in the turret room, make no sense.



The Cross House has diamond-paned sashes in the pantry, the west dormer, and the north gable.


The pantry.


The pantry muntins (the thin pieces of wood between the glass panes) are S-curve shaped.


The north gable. I am living for the day when the red paint will be gone!


The same S-curve muntins.


The west dormer.


I had these diamond sashes recreated.





There are four bedrooms upstairs in the carriage house (south, north, east, and turret), and all feature diamond-paned upper sashes. The panes are all larger than the tighter patterns in the Cross House. Note also how nice & neat all the panes of glass are? They are either full diamonds or half diamonds. Just as in the Cross House.


However, as I wrote previously, Bo noticed that the diamonds in the turret bedroom are really fucked up.


The diamonds on the right make sense. They are either full- or half- or quarter-diamonds.

But on the left? Huh? What? The diamonds just thoughtlessly crash into the edge of the sash, artful geometry be damned.

This is really strange.

WHY are the windows in the turret room alone so odd?




The muntins in three of the bedrooms in the carriage house do not match the elegant S-curve muntins in the Cross House. This is odd.


The muntins are nonetheless properly fitted into the frame. Lovely.


However, the turret muntins are totally different, and clumsily meet the frame.


If the carriage house was built first, maybe the turret diamond windows were built first? Then did the architect realize how fucked-up they were, and made sure this was not repeated?

Maybe. Or maybe not.



  1. WHY don’t the turret diamond sashes match the other such sashes in the carriage house?
  2. WHY are the turret sashes so fucked up?
  3. WHY don’t the carriage house diamond sashes match the same in the Cross House? The muntins don’t match, and the patterns in the big house are much tighter.

I have always assumed the diamond-paned sashes in the carriage house are original to the 1894 structure.

However, the east bedroom was created as part of the 1921 conversion. It is more sun porch than bedroom as its three exterior walls are all windows. And all the upper sashes are diamond-paned.

But these exactly match the diamond sashes in the south and north bedrooms. I would expect them to be a bit different as they date from almost thirty years after the 1894 sashes. Or have my assumptions been wrong all this time?

Perhaps the diamond-paned sashes in the carriage house date from the 1921 conversion? This would explain why they don’t match the diamond sashes in the Cross House.

But none of this explains why the turret windows match nothing, and are so fucked up.


WHAT is going on?


I am repeating this image. See the second floor? I have always assumed that the rectangular window/dormer to the right of the turret was part of the 1921 conversion. But…but…what if all the dormers date from 1921?


The Cross House. Brand new. Now, see way over to the right between the porch columns?(Courtesy Walter Anderson Collection, ESU Archives.)


That is the carriage house in its original location. The only thing I recognize is the distinctive separation between the lap siding on the first floor, and narrow band of shingles under the roof eave. The following may help…


…I hope.


To repeat. I see a big roof. But no dormer. No dormer. No dormer! Now, wanna REALLY freak out?


WHAT is that?


Look close.

Between the porch column, and the tree limb, that sure looks like a diamond-paned sash with a clear-glass sash below. On the turret.

And I do not see…a dormer to the right.





Back to the Sanborn map. See the carriage house? The wing on the left is marked 1. This means 1-story. The main body of the structure is marked 2. This means 2-story. This means that the main body was recognized by Sanborn as having a full second floor.


So…so…I don’t see a dormer in the 1895 image.

This makes me wonder if all the dormers date from the 1921 conversion?

THIS would explain why the diamond sashes in the east and north bedrooms (all in dormer windows) match the 1921 sunporch diamond windows, because all date from 1921.

And THIS would explain why the turret windows don’t match. Because the turret dates from 1894. I base this on:

  1. A rounded bay is shown on the Sanborn may exactly where the turret is. I am not too concerned that the bay is actually an octagon rather than round, as Sanborn often gets shapes wrong.
  2. The turret has the same curved cornice with applied swirls as the Cross House.
  3. The original drawings show TWO finials for the carriage house. One was for the top of the huge cupola/ventilator on the 1-story wing. The other was for, well, somewhere. But this second finial (a weathervane actually) appears to match the weathervane shown atop the turret in a 1932 image. Thus, the 1894 drawing of a weathervane seems to match a later image atop the turret. Moreover, the weathervane in the drawing is for an octagon-shaped roof. And the turret is an octagon.




It seems that the 1894 carriage house had a huge hipped roof interrupted only by a turret.


All the many dormers were added during the 1921 conversion.


This would explain:

  1. Why the turret diamond sashes do not match all the other diamond sashes.
  2. Why the south and north bedroom sashes match the sashes in the 1921 sunporch/bedroom.

If correct, this means that the carriage house had a huge attic rather than second floor.


This means that the entire interior of the second floor, which I always assumed to be 1894, is instead 1921.


But…but…the Sanborn map indicates a full second floor.


And there is still no explanation for why the turret sashes are so fucked up.


I have a headache now. I am going to lay down.



38 Responses to Discovery #6!!!!!!!!

  1. The Sanborn map would indicate a full second floor as long as a person could stand up straight in all areas. Whether it was used as an attic or finished as a livable space doesn’t have anything to do with the storey classification. If a person couldn’t stand up in all areas, because of sloped roofs and all that jazz, it would likely be labeled “1 1/2” instead of “2”.

    Does that help? I don’t even know. I’m also confused.

    • It is my experience with Sanborn maps that a roof with livable space inside was marked: 1-1/2.

      I see this all the time.

      For example, my neighbor, Plumb House, has a full bedroom on the west end of the second floor, tucked inside a gable roof. It is marked 1-1/2 on Sanborn.

      The Cross House is shown as 2-1/2 (see above). This means two full floors, and a third floor livable space under the huge roof.

      So, for the carriage house to be marked 2, would indicate a full second floor. But no evidence supports this. The carriage should have been marked 1-1/2. Or, based on todays discoveries, 1.

      Again, Sanborn is not always correct.

      Perhaps the second-floor turret looked to Sanborn like there was an occupied second level?

      • Yes yes, that’s what I mean. You say it should have been marked as 1 1/2, which I’m seeing. So why then is it marked 2? Hmmmm. I know a lot of things get deleted over the years, but not entire floors. “This carriage house is too tall. Let’s knock some off the second floor and then put the roof back on.”

        (Even though I read it ten times, I misinterpreted your post, so ignore my first comment anyway. What a conundrum!)

  2. The observation of the different muntin profiles is very astute. That does seem to suggest different eras, or at the least, a different millwork order (and if the inside of the cairrage house behind those windows was unfinished space, the owner/architect would be less caring about them matching the house).

    I had a long explanation written up about the geometry and effort to create properly-fitted diamond muntins on the last post, but alas, my browser crashed before it posted. Essentially, making properly-fitted ones takes more effort and time, especially in changing jig settings in your shaper. For large runs where a shop is making batches of each size, it’s not a big deal, but for just a few, or an uncaring amateur, it would be less work to make up the muntins all at right angles, and then cut them to fit any sash, without adjusting the geometry to even multiples. That seems to suggest those were done later, and perhaps onsite, rather than in a millwork shop. This would seem to be consistent with the work done in the 20s.

    As for the second floor: I’m not that familiar with Sanborn maps, but is it possible the (2) could indicate a level finished for storage, even if it wasn’t finished for occupancy? This would be more consistent with it lacking dormers.

    Btw, I can’t get over how awesome that matching carriage house is, right down to the tin cornice. I’m a huge fan of matching carriage houses, and hope one day to own a house with one, or build one myself.

  3. Ross, do any of the other diamond paned Cross House windows contain quarter diamonds? Aren’t they all just full and half diamonds? I think your tower windows aren’t just messed up on the left but across the bottom, too. Maybe the original Irish window-builder celebrated his St Paddy’s Day too heavily, messed up his last long division, and since he had no extra moldings or glass, he cut them down to fit the frame and put his money on no one noticing “all the way up here”.

    • Hi Suella!

      All the diamond-paned sashes in the carriage house and Cross House are full- or half-panes.

      Only the turret has odd panes.

  4. Have you ever wondered why the carriage house sits so far to the back of the lot? Yes, it was the storage for carriages (maybe horses too?) But when it was renovated in the early 20’s, it could have been moved forward to match the rest of the houses on the block. But in the side yard of the Cross house, (the “front yard” of the carriage house) Mrs Cross had planted a Centennial Elm tree brought from the 1876 Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia. This tree apparently had some sentimental value attached to it and wasn’t cut down until the 1940s due to damage. I read about this in an Emporia newspaper article. Makes sense to me. Ah ha moment.

    • The carriage house was built right against the alley in 1894.

      When it was converted into a house (in 1921, I believe) a foundation was built right in front, and the structure was lifted up, and moved forward onto the new foundation.

      I have a 1944 newspaper article on the “Centennial Elm” when it was cut down, and it seems that it was in the front yard of the carriage house.

      I agree, this may explain why the carriage house was not moved in line with all the other houses on the block when it was converted. A big tree was in the way!

      Or maybe not!

  5. Ross, is it possible the windows in the tower weren’t originally double hung, but single windows with a diamond pattern? A building like that wouldn’t necessarily need double hung windows as there was most likely (prior to the remodel) vents near the roof or a coopola. If this were the case it’s possible during the remodel someone wanted to keep the look of the diamonds on the upper sash of the windows and crudely applied mutins to new sashes.

  6. Ok, here’s a theory: all of this confusion is due to the time-traveling aliens who messed around with the finials last year. They went back to 1921, and convinced (or bribed)the then-owner to install these funky muntons in the tower for no other reason than to mess with our heads…I have a headache too, ‘nite all! 🙂

  7. This is going to be a little hard to explain, but I think you’ll get my gist more easily.

    The “That is the carriage house in its original location” photo is taken from the ground. The carriage house is near the back of the lot. By my estimation of the sight line from standing in front of the house to the eave of the carriage house the carriage house might have been the height of two (relatively short, compared to the house) stories, plus an attic. I base this partly on the supposition that the foundation at the new location raises the whole carriage house a couple of feet, meaning that it originally had more wall height. Whether it was actually divided into two floors, or not, it might have looked like a two story building with an attic.

    Might they have cut the bottom three or so feet off the carriage house when they moved it? Might they have lowered the attic floor level when they made it into livable space? Doing both could have made a seeming two stories into one.

    On another matter, I’m a bit confused by the enlargement. If the eave is below the word “eave, then what is the dark horizontal line above it?

  8. Hmmm. Here’s another headache, but might explain. When the carriage house was built, it was essentially a pretty storage shed with matching elements to the main house; pretty much like a matching garage in today’s parlance. I kept noticing in your previous posts that the entire structure was moved onto a basement foundation in ’21, with the assumption that the “second floor” was a finished floor. If so, given the weight of such a structure, could it be possible that the whole thing was just a shell? No finished rooms on the second floor? After all, it would have been incredibly difficult to move the added weight to a foundation IF there was a complete 2nd floor…but not hard if there were just a shell *to be finished off.*

    So my supposition is that, given the use of the building when it was built, that it was a “garage” with storage for feed on the second floor (barn), and the extension was for actual vehicles when not in use. A dressed up to match the house garage. This structure would have been much easier to move onto the foundation and more practical to do, especially since the turret does not have a matching structure under it for support like the Cross House. There would have been no need for structural support for an architectural flourish on a garage.

    Looking at the main house and the carriage house, the dormers were definitely added on in the ’21 remodel, IMO. Notice that the tinwork is not on those dormers? In the main house, ALL the dormers have the fancy trim work, but not the carriage house. The only trim is on the turret. It would have been visually pleasing to have the matching dormer trim IF they were a part of the original structure and not expensive to just add as the stuff was available on site.

    So my theory is that the carriage house became a liability after the advent of the automobile, but was too big to just abandon as a structure. They moved the shell, including the extension, to the proper foundation and THEN put in two proper floors and finished the interior. Since the “hay loft” didn’t have head room for bedrooms, they opened dormers and divided the rooms already suggested by the interior footprint of the hay loft. The wrap porch was a solution to the support of the turret and esthetics to copy the Cross House. Plausible?

    • Thank you, Dodi!

      Anything can be moved. Even the Empire State Building!

      But the lighter a structure is, the easier the move will be.

      You make an excellent point about the dormers. Yes, if original, they likely would have matched the dormers on the big house.

      The second floor is now plaster on lath. I have always assumed this was from the 1921 conversion as plaster walls in a carriage house is not typical. I assumed the plaster replaced beadboard. Now I am thinking that the plaster IS the original surface, and it DOES date from 1921.

      In short, I am now thinking that there was no second floor. Just a huge attic with a turret.

      • The biggest confirmation would be the joist span, right? If there was a hay loft, there would be partial joists for that integral to the structure with a center space for movement of the hay. But if a second floor were completed, wouldn’t there be sistered joists and beams to make the second floor? And close up the center space? Personally, I’d LOVE to have seen the blueprints for the carriage house… Oh how wonderful archeology is!

      • Just a thought, but was the 2nd floor of the carriage house used to house the servants? You make no mention of servants quarters in the main house at all?

  9. I think you figured it out Ross! It makes a lot of sense that the dormers, and all the rooms(except the turret room)were added in the 1921 remodel and the evidence seems to back you up. At the Cross house itself, I think you said there was only one finished bedroom on the third floor. Just because you had a lot of servants, didn’t mean they all had to be living there. They could probably get by with just a skeleton crew at night. (Even the Lincolns only had one live-in servant at their house in Springfield, and, believe it or not, Mary did most of the cooking herself) As for the turret windows, maybe the muntins were made onsite by someone whose specialty was clearly not diamond sashes while the ones in the main house were done by a professional at the glass factory?

  10. I recall that you do not have the original drawings of the carriage house? Some numbers on the carriage house dimensions would be intriguing! Here are a few items to consider regarding the original use of the structure:
    Upstairs would have primarily been designed for hay storage, and in that era, hay was stored loose as baling equipment had yet to be invented. About 3 – 4 tons of hay storage may have been needed for a family horse or two. Grain would have been stored downstairs next to the tack (horse equipment) room. Any room(s) for employees in the upper story would likely have a solid wall separating the space from the hay storage area (dust and fire prevention) and windows would have been few or none on the hay side although on a gable end there would have been a fairly large door to bring the hay in with using a rope and hay fork system. A typical height downstairs would have been 10 – 12 feet for the horses and often also a full story upstairs because hay is a bulky commodity. Thus, plenty of room to remake the building into a house when the original use was no longer necessary. Makes much sense that the carriage house came first as it would have had a large open area for the carriage and harnessing, also ideal for storage of materials, tools and rainy day work by the craftsmen.

  11. One other thing about the hay loft: it would not have been a finished wall space in that area (would have looked more like an unfinished attic), so your thoughts about the plaster being original to the repurposing timeline for the carriage house are spot on. As a farmer, the history of the carriage house and how it may have looked originally is also fascinating to me (especially potential original layout on the first floor) and I hope there are enticing clues that might yet be discovered as you work there!

  12. Ross, your fans have put forth a lot of interesting and useful ideas – this one is a great puzzle. I expect one of the missing drawings would be the sheet with the carriage house plan and elevations – that would put so much to rest, wouldn’t it?

    First, a comment on the Sanborn map image – a crucial and significant research data point that I haven’t seen before.

    Yes, Sanborn maps aren’t always correct, but we should be careful not to simply dismiss evidence that doesn’t fit our existing presumptions – the circular shape of the projection on the carriage house is a pretty huge miss. And in addition to the shape being wrong (when the shapes are right on the house), the drawing is also not helpful in understanding whether the round shape shown is a turret or extends all the way to the ground.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, we should ask what might explain the drawing if in fact it is correct – for instance, the turret could have been a tower with the lower floor round beneath a hexagonal top, later removed because of the reconfiguration of the interior staircase and/or to allow room for the porch to extend across the front of the moved house. Seems unlikely and complicated though – Occam’s Razor.

    A more simple answer could come from your brief comment in the post that we don’t know if “Being Built” means only the house or the entire project. If the carriage house also was “Being Built” then it is possible that the final form changed from conception to construction.

    Finding similar structures in the same Sanborn volume with turrets that don’t go to the ground or other carriage houses, etc. could shed light on the ways such features were depicted. For instance, understanding if other existing carriage houses with hay lofts in town – I saw a number there during my visit – are consistently shown with 2-floor notations. I like the hay loft theory by the way – and thus the later finishing up the upstairs following the move.

    It would be interesting to try to determine the original floor plan of the carriage house based on carriage house plan patterns of the era. This could probably be done using other Kansas examples and the plan books of Barber, Shoppell, Hodgson, etc. This would probably clarify the usage of the small 1-story wing (the tack room?), the separation of horse and vehicles, where living quarters were incorporated (if any), configuration of hayloft, and so on.

    And here is a key question – are there no additional volumes of the Sanborns to cross-check between 1893 and 1921? That seems like a significant missing piece here if there are other years available. Finding the Sanborn maps and the City Directory information and thoroughly mining are three of the most important first steps in house research.

    After writing this comment, I read the full National Register nomination, and this helped me understand some of these questions a little better.

    Interestingly, there the 1905 and 1929 Sanborns are shown. The 1905 shows the carriage house unchanged, 2-story, with the same round projection (maps were not always redrawn unless changes took place or the volumes/sheets were reorganized), and the 1929 map shows the moved and renovated carriage house. The 1929 map is now properly noted as 1-1/2- stories and also does not show any outline of the projecting turret. By the way – where does the 1921 date come from for the move again?

    There are other notable differences from the 1893 “Being Built” drawing too, like all the porches and porte cochere being shown in 1905 (along with an open porch there in the back), and a very different porch configuration in 1929 (along with that back porch becoming enclosed and the small side porch appearing).

    Maybe some of your local Emporia history-buff readers want to go down to the library or history museum to while away a few hours on digging up more data points?

  13. Of course I have more.

    From looking at I have a couple comments regarding servants…

    First, two census data points from Ancestry. The 1895 Kansas census shows just Susan [widow of Harrison Cross], Charles [son of Susan and Harrison] and Mary [daughter of Charles] in the house with a single other occupant named R Ambrows, who we might speculate was in a service position. This is immediately folling H.C.’s death. [From Ross: When Charles died he lived with his second wife at SunnySide Farm.]

    Then in the 1900 US census, two years after Charles’s suicide, we have only Susan (Capitalist) and Mary listed as living there – no servants at all.

    This doesn’t prove there were no servants, or that Susan didn’t have borders (the directories ought to shed light on this) – but it does reinforce that there was potentially no real need for servants and that it was a VERY big house for just lonely two occupants 69 and 15 at the time (likely emotionally exhausted following the two male deaths and scandal and loss of the bank collapse).

    It also brings me back to our old debate about the attic in the house being a ballroom vs. servants quarters. I would now throw out the idea that it could have been conceived as a ballroom but never realized due to H.C.’s immediate death. It also may never have really been used fully as servant quarters either if there was never a significant number of them needed. [Ross: The original drawing of the top level give no indication of its being a ballroom.]

    This also means it is unlikely the carriage house would have been occupied, even if by chance the plans were drawn up for that.

    Marrying the timing of the Cross family traumas to the design and early occupation of the house has helped me understand the context of your puzzles much better. [Ross: The “Cross family traumas” all date after the Cross House and carriage were built.]

  14. Could the ‘geometrically challenged’ windows actually be second hand~ previously used elsewhere on another property or bought ‘in spite of their being geometrically challenged”, purchased for use in the carriage house since it wasn’t going to be the primary house? Another thought to throw into the pot! I can’t imagine that no one ‘noticed’ the irregularity, since the ones in the other windows have a perfect diamond made of diamonds. The mystery continues!

  15. The muntin issue that started all this remains befuddling as well, though some has been sorted out.

    As I suspect Seth was going to discuss, the way the muntins in a diamond sash are laid out is pretty basic and is driven entirely by the glass size of the sash.

    Basically, you draw a line diagonally from one corner of the sash to the opposite one, or if the proportion is especially narrow or wide, that line is adjusted to maintain an even parallel bar spacing while keeping the muntin angle as close to 45 degrees as possible.

    Then the shortest side is split into a spacing that is close to a number that can be duplicated along the long side.

    Sounds complicated, but in most cases, there is really only one geometry that works for a rectangle of any given size. Ans this is how you only get whole or half diamonds in the layout.

    This is most obvious on the later diamond sash in the carriage house, where the diagonals bisect each side of the the rectangle.

    Seth is also correct in the observation that having the muntins meet at 90 degree angles is optimal. As would follow from this, any windows with perfectly square diamond panes must be based on a glass size (the measurement from the flat to the flat of the sash opening where the glass is – usually a round inch number like 20×16) that allows a perfect geometrical spacing on both sides.

    So a 20×16 glass size (almost all old windows are sized by glass size, which not many folks know) could have muntins spaced at 4″ centers that would result in perfectly square panes – but no other size. A 20×15 glass size could have 5″ centers. A 24×16 glass size could have 8″ centers. Because there are only a few glass sizes that work out perfectly, most diamond pane windows do not have square panes or muntins on 45 degree angles or the same bar spacing vertically and horizontally.

    What are the glass sizes of the diamond pane sash in the Cross House? If the panes are perfectly square, the the window sizes were directly selected to achieve that – it isn’t luck.

    Back to the messed up sash in the carriage house, they are also weird in not having the flat portion of the bar face between the sticking profiles (sticking is the molded profile of the bar or glass or panel opening, and an “S” shape sticking is call ogee stickong, sometimes abreviated to OG).

    The width of the sticking usually corresponds to the width of the rabbet that receives the glass on the other side of the sash – often 1/4″. And the width of the flat on the muntin bar between the sticking matches the width of the bar on the rabbeted putty side. So when you have no flat on the muntin, you have departed from sash-making standards.

    While a story about sash being made onsite by an amateur carpenter to explain the weird sash is just the sort of casual, easy-answer anecdote I have a hard time accepting without more evidence (windows were a cheap commodity and not really the kind of thing you’d be justified to build onsite in a project like the Cross House), there is no doubt that the turret sash in the carriage house smack of weirdness and wood butchery. Or some other story that is unfathomable to me.

    • I’m not a carpenter and am geometry challenged, what if there was a long rectangular diamond-paned window that was cut in half to create 2 “square-ish” diamond paned windows?

  16. Holy Crapping Carriage Houses Batman!

    Ross, I’m going to send you something by email that is going to blow your mind.

    You can then post as Discovery #7!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Was there ever a fire or storm which damaged the carriage house, thus requiring repairs which may have been constructed by someone who may have been a handyman but not necessarily up to the standards of the carpenters who originally worked on the structure?

    • In the picture there is no evidence of the turret, so could this have been added later? Could the curve on the Sanborn map be a curved portico that was removed in the 1920’s (as seen in the shadow in the picture) when the carriage house was remodelled?

      • I show that image in a previous post.

        The image only shows the 1-story north wing. It does not show the 2-story structure with the turret.

        My next post will explain more!

  18. This has been driving me crazy, I’m not very good with mysteries. I’m waiting with baited breathe for the next installment…..

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