Eldorado County Logging

As we acquire more information, we will continue to add to this section of our site.

After thought December 2014. Commenters have added a whole lot of information about Eldorado County, particularly the area around Pino Grande and Camino.

Interested readers should access “Camino History” on Facebook. This group has a lot of information and history about the Camino area. Also on Facebook look at  “You Know you Grew up in Placerville, AKA Hangtown”   for even more photos and information. Thanks to Lee Rogers for drawing our attention to these two historic resources.

Here’s a photo of Phil Tuma and his display board when he visited the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum recently. He’s left the display with us for a couple of months. As you can see, it would be difficult for us to make good copies off this board.



  1. r watson Says: April 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    looking for locations of logging camps sugar pine resovor by forrest hill ca.

    • Lee Rogers Says: October 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Hi..I lived up in Forest Hill in the late 70’s and there were 3 mills up on the Divide. The Big Mill was just west of town along the road, The Upper Mill was small, and at the other end of town. A few miles northeast of town, up the Divide was the turn off to Big Resivor, and the Hamlet of Baker.
      Hues ? Mill was out Big Resivor Rd. on the left. It was torn down and removed before 1980. The Upper Mill ended with a similar fate while later.
      Bendix Corp. bought out American Forest Products, and The Big Mill, Truck Shops where closed. My Father was a Truck Mechanic, and Retired in 85-86. When they closed. The Whole mill site, was turned into a new High School.

      • Lee Rogers Says: October 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

        I’ld forgotten….Baker ….was Baker Ranch . There was a Large Building, which had a huge stone fire place, and was the Bar, and accross the bar was an Orchard, and Mobile Home Park.

        • Paul Blair Says: August 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm

          Hi, my father A.W. “Fritz Blair” was part owner at Blairs Mill Pacific House Calif. I remember and hung with a kid named Lee Rogers whos dad worked at the mill, by any chance was your Fathers name Jerry Rogers? also I knew Phillip Tuma and his father Bud worked there also, please E-mail me back

          • Paul,
            Yes my Dad Was Jerry Rogers… He Passed away in 2006, But my Mother’s Alive and kicking … I remember Paul Hoiser and His Brother Steve and Sisters, Barbra and Paula … and the De Francies … My Dad Bought Me the Full Set of Tonka Trucks, and I remember All of us kids Riding them down the Bank, behind the House… If You Do Face Book … Come over to the, ” Blair’s Saw Mill ” Page … there are a few Past kids, that are members and I have pictures there, and Others share Their Stories…
            Along with Other Blair, Harris, and other Family members…

            Lee Rogers …

          • Paul ….
            My Email is: mrmom852@gmx.com
            Drop Me a line …
            Lee Rogers

  2. Rich Olson Says: August 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    acroynom NBNR in El Dorado Co. adjacent to US Highway 50 at Post mile 54. Any info. on what logging R/R this was

    • bob hennings Says: September 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      it was the placerville camino and lake tahoe railroad,but it never went past camino . they did it because the goverment gave them every other section of land along the route

  3. Well, what you’ve told me isn’t enough information for me to be able to give you much help, but if I did have more information, I still might not be able to help you.

    Is the NBNR on some old railroad car, a wall of some sort, or ????

    The only RR I know of that had that acronym was the Nicolet Badger Northern Railroad which was not in this area, but that doesn’t mean that cars or locomotives didn’t end up out here.


  4. Lee Rogers Class of 70 EDHS ...... Says: October 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    There were a Lot of Small Saw Mills in Eldorado County not Covered here…
    Blair Brothers Lumber Co. had a Lumber Yard at Main St and Misqueto Rd for yrs..Their First Mill was Down at Sly Park, Now Jenkins Lake, South of Pollock Pines. They Had a Mill Also North of Pacific House, across the American River, where I grew up in the 50’s. There was a Mill and town at Fresh Pond, another little mill at Pollock Pines, just east of town, and a small mill in the woods between Fresh Pond and Sly Park…You also had Ohmo Ranch, Like Pino Grande, Remote, with Family Houses, Co Store..The older kids went to High School in Placerville too ….

    • Tyler Blair Harrison Says: December 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

      my family the Blairs, and Smith’s owned a number of the mills that you just mentioned. they also owned one near charles brown school off of pleasant valley rd. and one in shingle springs. onre burned down to a aw dust fire i believe. Lee you my have none my mother Julie Smith now Harrison from EDHS class of 1973 i believe.

    • Dee Owens Says: August 7, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Do you know anything about Mich-Cal Camps 6 and 7?
      I’m trying to find out what went on there. Did the men live there? Were women living there?
      They were active from about 1923 to 1929.

  5. My Dad was foreman of a Blister Rust camp off of Highway 50, maybe on Tiger Creek. We stayed at Pacific House for a couple of summers and I went to school at Fresh Pond. I think my Mom was more interested in getting me out of her hair during the day than expanding my education. I remember the mill and the community, and also the one room school. It seems very likely that I got Polio from the American River while staying at Pacific House. The resort at Riverton let their sewage go directly into the river and we swam a few miles downstream from there. At the time they didn’t know Polio was in its first stage a GI tract infection.

  6. Dottie Linder Says: August 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    During the 1930’s I lived five years at Fresh Pond in one of the tent houses. I started school in the little one room school. And I also have a school picture of that year. The Blair Bro’s owned the mill at that time and later sold it to Michigan-Cal Lumber Co in Camino. The water that fed the tent village and the mill pond was up on the hill side and ran down to a stone pool where we dipped our drinking water. Those were the happiest days of my life and the steps my father made were still there in the 1990’s. I’m truly sorry of what has now become of the little tent village where I had the most joy of my childhood.

    • Roy Van Sant Says: September 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Dear Dottie
      I have been keeping track of the lumber mills in El Dorado County. I was surprised that there was hardly any information on the Fresh Pond/Pacific House school in the wonderful book about one Room School Houses. Have You seen the Book “Mother Lode of Learning ? ” I would like to Insure that the Photo Curator at The El Dorado County Museum could Get copy your School Picture.

      A bunch of retired teachers did a fantastic job on the book on one room school houses. If you have not seen it It is available from the El Dorado County Library. Both in Check out and at the reference section. Sadly there is only one page about Pacific House (326) I would like them to reprint the book but this time with an Index.

      There were about 4 mills within a few miles of Fresh Pond in the thirties. I am assuming that your father worked for The Blairs. Could you tell me your Dads Name?

      My Father (johnny Van Sant) had a friend Howard Linder. If I remember correctly, There was a real nice memorial at the veterans Lodge in Placerville a few years ago. Howard was a Bus supervisor at Pinewood School.

      I would gladly Mail you a copy of the page about Fresh Pond School. But I feel that you may enjoy that “out of print” book as much as I did.

      Not Knowing these people at Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, I would recommend that they post Your School Photo on this site. Some great photographer took some great shots of the Pino Grande School. I copied them on this site last year

      Sorry this Message is bouncing around quite a bit.

      Thanks Again
      Roy Van Sant from Placerville

      • In Talking with people who Grew up at Blairs Mill and went to The Big Bend School, at Blair’s … Mrs Stinik, was a Teacher there, Her and her Husband also had a House on Union Ridge, north of Placerville, She was also a Sub. Teacher in later Years, and we became her neighbors in the 60’s, after Blair’s sold out. and we Moved to Placerville ..

    • Dottie … Harvey West owned the mill at Fresh Pond for a while, after Blair Brothers owned it, He Also owned Placerville Lumber, at Smith Flat … Before Buying the mill and Town of Grey Eagle …

  7. Roy and Dottie,
    If you look around our site, you’ll know that we devote a lot of space to the old schools. We’d love to put Dottie’s photo on the web site. Remember, I went to Fresh Pond also.

  8. Mickey Baxter Says: September 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Was there ever a saw mill in Placerville at or near where the box factory was at Main St. And Sacramento Hill?

  9. Roy Van Sant Says: September 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    The Beach Box Factory was at that Location from at least the 1880’s thru 1967. Three Generations of Mr. Beach ran the company. Grand Pa & Grandson both Named Seth, Joe in the Middle

    When I asked a manager (who sold off the Equipment in 1967) that same question. His remark was that he did not think so. but they may have. But they were mostly a Planing mill & Box Factory.

    There Is a wonderful old Sketch of Placerville in 1856 with a sawmill a few blocks down. My guess is that it would be the sawmill of James H. Preadmore. Somehow this sawmill never shows up in the photo’s taken about then.

    None that I know of in between the two.

    Roy Van Sant

  10. Mickey Baxter Says: September 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Thank you. You’re better than “Google”.

  11. Roy,
    The Logging Museum thanks you also.

  12. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: December 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

    my family owned the Blair brothers lumber company in Placerville, near where mcdonalds is today, and also many other mill sites and bridges. My great grandfather Matthew Blair was killed when a saw dust pile collapsed on him. he died of suffication. Our family now owns 150+ acres near the Pino Grande Mill site.

    • John McDowall Says: July 24, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      My grandparents purchased a Stienway square grand piano from the Blair family in either the 20’s or 30’s. The story is that when the Blairs originally bought it was shipped from the East coast and came around the horn on a ship then up to San Francisco. From there it went to Placerville via wagon. The piano is still in the family.

  13. My Family is the Turnboo/Carbine/Neilsen,,,well you get the picture. I’m interested in any El Dorado Co family history and County history anyone would like to share……..
    Thanks for the help

  14. Roy From Placerville Says: December 19, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Well I am the last one to be telling someone about their own family. Those three names are all truck Drivers or Loggers.
    Mike Carbine 1927-2006 purchased his first logging truck during WW2 (Or shortly after?) and logged his whole life in El Dorado County.
    As for Neilsons: How about an Elmer born 99 years ago. Or a Franklin who was a few years older. George V. 1892-1976 was one of the earlier Log truck drivers. Howard 1916-2007 was involved in a few sawmills and his own logging company. I do not know much about Robert a logger during WW2 and a William who along with his wife Anna owned a sawmill somewhere according to the 1940 Census.
    The Turnboo’s Alvin , Carl & Dave had a real nice article in the 15 Sept,2000,Mountain Democrat. I need to go look a friend named George in the town of El Dorado and see how he is related to the bunch.

  15. Colleen Fitzpatrick Says: December 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Hi Roy……
    Thank you for all this information. I’m the Granddaughter of Bill Turnboo on my mother’s side (Corky Hamilton)
    I’m not familiar with Mike Carbine’s background, but my mother’s best friend, Pasty Carbine can do that for me.
    In the meantime, thank you for the information about the Nielsen’s. Great-Grandmaw (Bill’s mother is from that side of the family so I’m thinking Elmer may be her father (?) or an older brother). I’m sure I can find out more information about the Neilson’s from Tommy Lightfoot’s family.
    As far as the Turnboo side of logging, Grandpa (Bill) fell, limbed and bucked, was a cat skinner and drove truck during his lifetime.
    My step father, Bob Hamilton, worked with Grandpa as a faller.
    Uncle Carl drove truck most of the time, but I believe he may have been a faller too.
    I know Davey and Shawn are fallers, and are pretty damn good at it.
    My sister, Robin, married Donald Vance, Jr. from the Vance Trucking family out of Plymouth CA.
    George Turnboo is a cousin, but I’m not sure where he fits in, but would love to talk to him.
    Again thanks for the information you provided. And by the way you are Roy Who??

  16. Roy From Placerville Says: December 24, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Just a Lumber mill historian, Trying to keep track of the El Dorado County Mills, Mill Workers, loggers, ect. I was once called Lumber Mill Looie at the Museum. (My wifes family was involved in a few mills years ago)

  17. Roy From Placerville Says: December 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Comment for Tyler Blair Harrison

    Yes your family has had more lumber mills in this county than any other. (No One else can I document over 100 years) I have some Issues that I need to clean up before I list the lumber Mills . Possibly Ten Lumber mills. Plus two separate retail lumber yards in Placerville. I have to Include some mills owned by a man named Smith who was just as much a Blair as his partners in the Blair Brothers Lumber Co.

    I also need to learn proper ethics on listing others names web sights without their consent.

    Years Ago I started a score card because of 5 of your relatives have the same first and Last name. One of which is still living. I am indebted to Mr. Smith’s Wife to help me keep them straight. Since then I have been Keeping track of all people known to have worked in the lumber industry in El Dorado County.

    I need to finish a separate project. Then I will list the Blair Mills. I need to confirm something that your Uncle Gordon disagreed with. If Gordon Blair said “No I had never heard that, and I don’t think so” I had better re-think the whole thing. (I will take Gordons word over mine) Your Family has a Heritage and good reputation that no one else can come close to.

    • Tyler Blair Harrison Says: January 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I really appreciate all the good things you had to say about my family. the smith that you mentioned is my great uncle Clark (i believe) and maybe his wife alice (both of which are still alive) he and my grandfather Lyman “Donald” Smith (clarks brother) passed away 29, august 2002. the last mill they owned was the planing mill in El Dorado (across from reds) and my grandmother(Betty Smith) just passed last year the day after christmas. Donald And Clarks father was Matthew Blair. i dont know a ton of stuff as you do, but i would give anything in the world to learn as much about them as i possibly can.

      Do you still work at the Museum? id like to talk to you in person sometime.

      Tyler Blair Harrison

  18. Colleen Fitzpatrick Says: December 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

    For Roy:

    H. R. Pollock, “Hime”, and son Claude Earl were involved in land and timber rights throughout the area for the several years. He started a lumber mill near Pacific House and a mill located at Weber Creek east of Sportsman’s Hall until 1932.
    My Great-Great-Aunt Anna was married to Hime when they came out here in the early 1900s’. The town of Pollock Pines is named for this family.

    I found some of this information ifrom an on line book called; The Polloc Pines Epic.
    It may help with some of the informaiton dealing with logging and mills here in El Dorado County.

  19. Roy From Placerville Says: January 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Colleen & Tyler

    Claude Earl & Lorraine Pollock lived in the town of El Dorado in a house overlooking his former saw mill. Claude had a real bear skin in his basement. This Bear was in a special phase of its life because of it’s shade it was called a cinnamon Bear. I remember Claude telling the story of the Bear and why the fruit growers had to have it shot. This Bear skin was at my house until my parents made me clean out my room. (about 30 years)

    About 12-15 years ago I met a man at the museum who claimed to be Claude Earl & Lorraine’s son in law. I also met his wife but she was not feeling well. I believe she went out and stayed in a motor home. If I remember correctly they were from Colorado. I told this young gentleman the same thing that you told me. The best info on Mr. Pollock was in the book “the Pollock Pines Epic”. By the Way. This book is no longer in print. Thankfully the author made it available online at thepollockpinesepic.com

    If you need any information on this “son In Law” let me know. I probably took his name and I need to get some courage to brave my Filing Cabinet that is out of control.

    Your Great Great Aunt Anna was sure generous with the 8 th grade graduates at the Pollock Pines schools.

    The great Lymon Don Smith was one of the Owners of El Dorado Sierra Lumber Company and later El Dorado Northern He was also of the early Directors of the El Dorado County Historical Museum. We are very thankful for all the work he did to make that Museum a reality. In the Office of the museum there are some beautiful Cabinet like things just packed with drawers. There is one on the bottom that no one wanted about 3 feet to the right of the back door in the Office of the museum. It is labeled “Roy Lumber Mills”. There is a small packet pf papers there for Tyler Blair Harrison.

    One of the hidden artifacts of this Museum is a huge table donated by Two of the Officers at Caldor. (Well it evidently lived from 1960 thru the Early 1970’s in some forest supervisors Office.) Charles Gladstone Price The Superintendent and William Liddicoet the head sawyer (both of Caldor) saved this solid knot-less Sugar pine table top that is 13 1/2 foot long and 4 feet wide by 4 inches thick. This huge table is used several days every week. Boy do I feel guilty when I walk on it to change light bulbs. Moving it would not be considered . It is one of the few tables that would make a good Earthquake shelter.

    Roy Van Sant

  20. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: January 9, 2014 at 10:23 am

    i am going to go to the museum today at lunch to see if i can find that filing cabinet. (if the ladies will let me ???) i am very thankful to have found this website, it has all kinds of the info that i love. its one way that i can remember my grandpa don, sadly i was only able to know him for 17 years . his passing really took a toll on all of us, but i guess that’s a part of life. was that don and my grandma Betty that you were referring to in the posts above? or Clark and Alice?

    anyways i’ve gotta get back to work, nice talking to you. hope to learn a ton more…



  21. Lee Rogers Says: February 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Tyler Blair Harrison……On Face Book…There are a Few Pages, you Might Look Up….Camino History ….and You Know You Grew up in Placerville, AKA Hangtown…If…I posted a Picture Doc. of My Trip Home Last Fall, on the Placerville Page….I have Pictures of the Blairs Mill Site and What remains…as well as Pino Grande….There’s also Pics of Us at Blairs Mill…back in the 50’s…

    • Gail Cooper Says: March 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Hello Lee
      I also grew up at the Mill north of Pacific House across the American River. Do you remember the de Franchi’s? My Dad, Don, was a truck driver for the Blair brothers.

      • Paul Blair Says: August 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm

        Hi Gail, I was just reading your post to Lee Rogers, I knew Don your father he hauled lumber for blairs and later he hauled lumber for Clark Smith in Placerville and I knew your brother and sister and your mom Nancy please -mail me back Paul

      • Gail … Come to the … Blair’s Saw Mill .. Page on Face Book …

        Lee Rogers…

    • Lee,
      The museum would love to have photos of the Blair Mill, especially the ones of actual people there in the 50’s. As you can see, this Eldorado County part of our web site has gotten a lot of comment. We’d do more if we had more.
      Thanks for considering this.

  22. Roy From Placerville Says: February 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks Lee, I love old pictures of lumber mill towns.
    Somehow I need to Inform Tyler Blair Harrison that Today A nice sign was hung on the Inner perimeter wall of the museum. This sign was to honor L. Donald Smith. Upon complementing this sign painter lady, She said that she didn’t know all the other things about him. She just know him from the Lumber Mill.

    Roy Van Sant

  23. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: February 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Roy,
    thanks for the heads up about the sign they hung remembering my grandfather. I still would like to meet with you in person one of these days. i’ve been really tied up with work lately. i found what you left for me at the museum, it was a fun treasure hunt…

    i’m going to check out the Facebook page you recommended. i look forward to seeing those pictures. i went to Pino two days ago, quite muddy and wet right now…

    thanks for all the history about my family.


  24. James Lee Rogers Says: March 20, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Gail Cooper….I remember you very well, and Your Dad. I remember Playing at your house, Down the Street in Cedar Grove, when Our Folks would Party and put us All in Your Rumpus Room…After your Folks Split, Your Dad Moved to Sacto. and Lived Close to My Grandmother, I remember visiting him down there…The Folks Drifted apart, But a Frien of your Dad’s….George ? became good friends for years….Please…If you have any Pictures of Blaires Mill or Cedar Grove….I’ld Love to have a Copy…..Dad passed away in Sept. of 06, but Mom is Still Kicking, up here in Winnemucca, Nv….

  25. James Lee Rogers Says: March 20, 2014 at 6:55 am

    T.B.H. If your Family has any Pictures of Blair’s Mill….Would Love to See and Share….My Mom said Art, was the Boss, of the Mill when we lived up there…I had seen and Copied some of the History, That USED to Be Posted on the BLAIR HOUSE WEB SITE….But It had Been REMOVED…..I ONL?Y ?HAVE A FEW PICTURES, FROM OUR HOUSE, BEHIND THE TRUCK SHOP….

  26. Lee Rogers Says: March 21, 2014 at 5:44 am

    John…How do I post Pic’s to this Web Site ???
    This Box is Messed up….Had to Space out to type read able comments….

    • Lee, you can’t post them directly, partly for our own protection, and partly because WordPress won’t allow it. Send photos and explanations to snlm@goldrush.com and I will get them on the site if they are acceptable, which I’m sure they will be. Looking forward to seeing them.

  27. My farther-in-law worked for the Blair brothers both in logging and cutting roads and stayed good friends until he passed away. His nick name was big John

  28. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: May 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Does anyone know the origin of the name of kings meadow? My family owns the property and I’ve been trying to figure out who named it for some time now. I’m sure some of the old boys from Pino would know the answer.

    I will have to ask my family if they remember “big john”

  29. Lee Rogers Says: May 27, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Tyler Blair Harrison…..Talked with my Mother the Other Day…..and Art Blair was Running the Mill when we Lived there…..

  30. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: July 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

    anyone familiar with the onion valley mine? it’s located near campana.

  31. Roy Van Sant Says: July 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Tyler,
    According to the book “On & Beyond the Georgetown Divide” On page 146 an excerpt from the Georgetown Gazzette of 9 July 1908. “We are glad to hear that Liveo Campana has made a rich find in his mine at Onion Valley”

    Now we all know that Liveo Campana had a shingle mill. The Nice lady who was a friend of your Grandpa showed me a receipt from 1939 that was signed by Liveo. His business was called the Onion Valley Shingle Mill. The book is available at the library or the museum.

  32. Lee Rogers Says: July 22, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Another El Dorado County Lumber Icon, Not Mentioned Yet…..Was Harvey West…..A Link to That History: http://www.graeagle.com/history/harvey_west_jr.html

  33. Karl Boles Says: August 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    A little different discussion, who owned the houses at Fresh Pond and when were they taken down? I had lived there from approximately 1957 through 1963. My father was a welder and worked for the construction companies on several of the dams before moving to Paradise and working on Oroville Dam. I do remember fishing on a mill pond just to the west of Fresh Pond. Don’t think I was lucky though.

  34. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: May 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I have a really nice panoramic picture of the mill at fresh pond. i’m not sure how to upload it.
    any help would be appreciated.


  35. Tyler Blair Harrison Says: June 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Does anyone know the complete history on the Pino Grande cable car? I know a bit about it but i cant seem to find a lot of info on it. i’m sure someone out there knows a lot about the construction of the cable way and the cable car. I have the book on Pino Grande but it doesn’t tell the full history of the construction.

    Tyler Blair Harrison

  36. Lee Rogers, I remember hanging at your house in the 1950’s it was a happy time, I believe you lived in back of the mechanic shop, I f you have any pictures of this place I’d really appreciate it if you would send some to me, anything about Blairs Mill would be great, Paul.

    • Paul… there are a Few pictures John has Posted Here, and Over at the Face Book Page … Phil Tuma and his wife are allowing Me to Take the Photo Display He has at the museum … I’ll post those to the Face Book Page, and was Planning on letting the Harris Family Post it at Their Tree Farm …. Most of Them are members of the Blair’s Mill Page, as well as Other people who Grew up and Lived at Blair’s… Tod McVicar … George Sisemore ….

      Lee Rogers

  37. just was on the computer and was looking at the videos of saw mills in Eldocos. early days and lo and behold was Blair Bros. Lmbr. co.!!!Wow! took me back..I watched the movie of Blairs and there was my uncle Tom on the cat! man oh man to see him at work making his magic work on that ol cable blade D-8 was a treat! Also, there was a saw sharpener and sawer refered to as Emmet Smith..Can anyone verify that was indeed his name? The reason I ask this is that Im pretty sure that my uncle Emmet Houston worked at Blairs but am not sure of the years..Also my mother and aunt and grandmother worked at the old mill in Pollack off of blairs road in the 1920’s I believe..I’ve got some more details if anyone is interested…

  38. anyone have pictures or information on the blair mill building located 4 miles east of Pollock on pony express. Suposedly the well out front was the watering hole for the pony express??

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