Cary, North Carolina

Last updated
Cary, North Carolina
Town of Cary
Cary, North Carolina. Cary, NC.jpg
Town Hall in Cary
Flag of Cary, North Carolina.png
Seal of Cary, North Carolina.png
Wake County North Carolina incorporated and unincorporated areas Cary highlighted.svg
Location in Wake County and the state of North Carolina.
Coordinates: 35°47′30″N78°46′52″W / 35.79167°N 78.78111°W / 35.79167; -78.78111 Coordinates: 35°47′30″N78°46′52″W / 35.79167°N 78.78111°W / 35.79167; -78.78111
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Chatham, Wake
Incorporated April 3, 1871
Named for Samuel Fenton Cary
   Mayor Harold Weinbrecht (D)
  Total59.42 sq mi (153.90 km2)
  Land58.33 sq mi (151.07 km2)
  Water1.09 sq mi (2.82 km2)  1.83%
495 ft (151 m)
(2018) [3]
  Density2,300/sq mi (880/km2)
Demonym(s) Caryite
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
27511-27513, 27518, 27519
Area codes 919, 984
FIPS code 37-10740 [4]
GNIS feature ID1019552 [5]

Cary /ˈkæri/ is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake County, with a small area in Chatham County in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is the county's second-largest municipality, as well as the third-largest municipality in The Triangle of North Carolina after Raleigh and Durham.

North Carolina U.S. state in the United States

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 23rd-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Raleigh metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 1,337,331 in 2018, and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park, in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.

Wake County, North Carolina U.S. county in North Carolina

Wake County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of July 1, 2015, the population was 1,024,198, making it North Carolina's second-most populous county. From July 2005 to July 2006, Wake County was the 9th fastest-growing county in the United States, with the town of Cary and the city of Raleigh being the 8th and 15th fastest-growing cities, respectively.

Chatham County, North Carolina U.S. county in North Carolina

Chatham County is a county located in the Piedmont area of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,505. Its county seat is Pittsboro.


The town's population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census (an increase of 43.1% since 2000), making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. [6] As of April 2018, the town's estimated population was 162,025, though Cary is still classified a town because that is how it was incorporated with the state. [7] Cary is the second most populous incorporated town (behind only Gilbert, Arizona) in the United States.

An incorporated town is a town that is a municipal corporation.

Gilbert, Arizona Town in Arizona, United States

Gilbert is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, located southeast of Phoenix, within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once known as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World", It is the sixth-largest municipality in Arizona, and the fifth-largest in the Metropolitan Phoenix Area.

According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the fifth fastest-growing municipality in the United States between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007. [8] In 2015 Cary had a crime rate of 84 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. [9] Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, had a violent crime rate of 648 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, almost eight times higher than Cary.

United States Census Bureau Bureau of the United States responsible for the census and related statistics

The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three primary metropolitan areas of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional nickname of "The Triangle" originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, primarily located in Durham County, four miles from downtown Durham. RTP is bordered on three sides by the city of Durham and is roughly midway between the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and the three major research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States

Chapel Hill is a town in Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Its population was 57,233 in the 2010 census, making Chapel Hill the 15th-largest city in the state. Chapel Hill, Durham, and the state capital, Raleigh, make up the corners of the Research Triangle, with a total population of 1,998,808.

Research Triangle Park research park in North Carolina, United States

Research Triangle Park (RTP) is the largest research park in the United States. It is named for the three hub cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, or more properly, for the three major research universities in those three cities. The Research Triangle region of North Carolina received its name as an extension of the name of the park. Besides the three anchor cities, the park is also bounded by the communities of Morrisville and Cary. Approximately one fourth of the Park's territory lies in Wake County, but the majority of its land is in Durham County.

Duke University Private university in Durham, North Carolina, United States

Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

Effective June 6, 2003, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) redefined the Federal statistical areas. This resulted in the formation of the Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area and the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area.

Office of Management and Budget United States government agency

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP). OMB's most prominent function is to produce the President's Budget, but OMB also measures the quality of agency programs, policies, and procedures to see if they comply with the president's policies and coordinates inter-agency policy initiatives.

The Research Triangle region encompasses OMB's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina. As of 2012, the population of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA was 1,998,808. [10] The Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as of Census 2010 was 1,130,490.

Piedmont (United States) plateau region located in the eastern United States

The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the Eastern United States. It sits between the Atlantic coastal plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New York in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont Province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division which consists of the Gettysburg-Newark Lowlands, the Piedmont Upland and the Piedmont Lowlands sections.


Page-Walker Hotel (now local history museum) Page-WalkerHotel.jpg
Page-Walker Hotel (now local history museum)
The Preston Clocktower in West Cary Prestontower.jpg
The Preston Clocktower in West Cary

In 1750, Cary began as a settlement called Bradford's Ordinary. About 100 years later, the North Carolina Railroad between New Bern and Hillsborough was constructed through the town, linking Bradford's Ordinary to a major transportation route.

Allison Francis "Frank" Page is credited with founding the town. Page was a Wake County farmer and lumberman. He and his wife, Catherine "Kate" Raboteau Page bought 300 acres (1.2 km2) surrounding the railroad junction in 1854 and named his development Cary, after Samuel Fenton Cary [11] (a former Ohio congressman and prohibitionist he admired). Page became a railroad agent and a town developer. He laid out the first streets in Cary and built a sawmill, a general store and a post office (Page became the first Postmaster). In 1868, Page built a hotel to serve railroad passengers coming through Cary. Cary was incorporated on April 3, 1871, with Page becoming the first mayor. [12] In 1879, the Raleigh and Augusta Air-Line Railroad (later the Seaboard, now CSX Transportation) arrived in Cary from the southwest, creating Fetner Junction just north of downtown and spurring further growth.

In the early years, Cary adopted zoning and other ordinances on an ad-hoc basis to control growth and give the town structure. Beginning in 1971, the town created Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning to accommodate population growth related to the growth of Research Triangle Park nearby. A PUD allows a developer to plan an entire community before beginning development, thus allowing future residents to be aware of where churches, schools, commercial and industrial areas will be located well before such use begins. Kildaire Farms, a 967-acre (3.9 km2) Planned Unit Development in Cary, was North Carolina's first PUD. It was developed on the Pine State Dairy Farm by Thomas F. Adams, Jr. Adams named a section of Kildaire Farms "Farmington Woods" in their honor.

In addition to the Page-Walker Hotel, the Carpenter Historic District, Cary Historic District, Green Level Historic District, Ivey-Ellington House, and Nancy Jones House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [13]


Located in the Piedmont region of the eastern United States, Cary is near North Carolina's Research Triangle. It is bordered on the north and east by Raleigh, on the north and west by Research Triangle Park and Morrisville, on the south by Apex and Holly Springs, and on the west by the Jordan Lake area. The town is hilly, with much of the undeveloped land covered in dense woods. Several creeks and small lakes dot the area, most notably Lake Crabtree in the north.

Nearly all of Cary is in western Wake County, with neighborhood-sized sections in the northeast corner of Chatham County. [14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.5 square miles (112.6 km²), of which 42.1 square miles (109.0 km²) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²) (3.17%) is water. As of 2010, Cary claims a total area of 55.34 mi². [15]


Cary has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification system. It receives hot summers and mildly cold winters, with several months of pleasant weather each year. Temperature extremes here range from the negatives to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricanes and tropical storms can affect Cary, usually after weakening substantially from being over land. Some, such as Hurricane Fran in 1996, have caused great damage in the area. Snow falls every year, averaging approximately six inches annually.

Climate data for Cary, North Carolina
Record high °F (°C)80
Average high °F (°C)50
Average low °F (°C)30
Record low °F (°C)−9
Average precipitation inches (mm)4.02
Source: [16]


Cary is divided into distinct east and west sections. The eastern side contains the downtown area as well as the town's neighborhoods. Several of the town's iconic buildings, such as the Ashworth Drug Store, Fidelity Building, and Page-Walker Hotel are in the eastern part of town. The western side holds mostly residences and shopping. Almost completely suburbanized, the area features sprawling neighborhoods, parks, and lakes.


Historical population
1880 316
1890 42333.9%
1900 333−21.3%
1910 38315.0%
1920 64568.4%
1930 90940.9%
1940 1,14125.5%
1950 1,44626.7%
1960 3,356132.1%
1970 7,686129.0%
1980 21,763183.2%
1990 43,858101.5%
2000 94,536115.6%
2010 135,23443.1%
Est. 2018168,160 [3] 24.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]

According to the 2010 Census, there were 135,234 people and 55,303 households in the town. As of 2013, the population has increased to 151,088. [18] The population was 73.1% White, 13.1% Asian, 8.0% African American, 7.7% Hispanic or Latin of any race, 2.6% identified as having ancestry of two or more races, 0.4% Native American, and 0.0% Pacific Islander.

The median household income for Cary as of 2011 was $110,609.

Educational attainment

More than two-thirds (68.0%) of Cary residents (aged 25 and older) hold an associate degree or higher, and 60.7% of adults possess a bachelor's degree or higher. Cary has one of the lowest crime rates (79% less than North Carolina) in the state for municipalities of its size. [19] [20] The home ownership rate (owner-occupied housing units to total units) is 72.8%.

In 2013, Cary moved up in the latest rankings of safe U.S. cities and is now considered the third-safest among municipalities with populations of 100,000 to 499,999, behind Amherst, New York, and Irvine, California, according to CQ Press, publisher of the annual "City Crime Rankings 2008-2009: Crime in Metropolitan America."

Cary's reputation as a community for transplants from outside the South has led to backronyms for its name such as "Concentrated Area of Relocated Yankees." [21] Data from the 2000 Census shows 29.2% of Cary residents are native to North Carolina; 55.2% were born in other states. Additionally, 15.6% of the town's population were born outside the United States. [22]


Notable businesses

Cary Chamber of Commerce CaryChamberofCommerce.jpg
Cary Chamber of Commerce
Fidelity Bank and Ashworth Drug Store Carycenter.png
Fidelity Bank and Ashworth Drug Store

Top employers

According to the Town's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [23] the top employers in the town are:

#Employer# of Employees
1 SAS Institute 5,616
2 MetLife 2,600
3 Verizon 2,000
4Powersteam Services1,993
5 Siemens Medical Solutions USA 1,600
6 HCL America 1,500
7 ABB, Inc. 1,300
7Town of Cary1,222
5 American Airlines Reservation Center1,200
10 DB Global Technologies 1,000

Arts and culture


Parks and recreation

Cary Tennis Park Carytennis.jpg
Cary Tennis Park




Cary has a council-manager government; the mayor and council members serve a four-year term, with half of the council seats being up for election each odd-numbered year. Four of the six council seats are elected by single-member districts; the remaining two seats are elected as at-largerepresentatives, meaning they must attract a majority of votes across the whole town.

The current (as of December 2016) town council consists of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and Representatives Jennifer Robinson (District A), Don Frantz (District B), Jack W. Smith (District C), Ken George (District D), Lori Bush (at-large), and Ed Yerha (at-large).

On October 9, 2007, Harold Weinbrecht defeated incumbent Mayor Ernie McAlister in the 2007 mayoral election. Citizen concerns that rapid growth was adversely affecting infrastructure and environment over the effect rapid growth was having on the town, especially on roads, schools, and the environment, led to McAlister's ouster. [35]

On December 26, 2009, The Nation reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had secret prisons in the United States, where it held suspected illegal immigrants indefinitely before deportation. It reported that at least one of these secret federal prisons is allegedly located in an office building in Cary. [36] Part of the federal government's Department of Homeland Security, ICE has leased an office in Cary for more than 10 years. The town says that no detainees are kept at this location overnight. Other than protesters of punitive ICE policies picketing the facility, the town does not acknowledge any issues associated with the Cary ICE office. [37]


From 1871 to present

Read in columns.

A. F. Page [38] 1871G. S. Leacock1914Dr. J. P. Hunter1933–1935Joseph R. Veasey1969–1971
J. H. Adams1884T. H. Taylor1916M. T. Jones1935Fred G. Bond1971–1983
R. J. Harrison1887W. G. Crowder1916T. W. Addicks1935Harold D. Ritter1983–1987
John Nugeer1897E. P. Bradshaw1921L. L. Raines1937–1947Koka E. Booth [39] 1987–1999
E. C. Hayes1900W. H. Atkins1921–1925R. W. Mayton1935–1937 Glen Lang 1999–2003
A.R. McGarrity1902G. H. Jordan1925Robert G. Setzer1947–1949Ernie McAlister2003–2007
R. J. Harrison1903E. P. Bradshaw1925H. Waldo Rood1949–1961 Harold Weinbrecht 2007–present
H. B. Jordan1903Dr. F. R. Yarborough1927–1928Dr. W. H. Justice1961–1962
N. C. Hines1910A. N. Jackson1928–1929James Hogarth1962–1963
J. M. Templeton, Jr.1912H. H. Waddell1929–1933Dr. E. B. Davis1963–1969


Public schools

Green Hope High School Green Hope High School (Front Entrance) 2006.jpg
Green Hope High School

Based in Cary, the Wake County Public School System is the largest public school system in North Carolina. [40]

Private schools

Higher education



Public transit

Public transit within the town is provided by GoCary, with six fixed-routes. [41] There is a door-to-door service for the senior citizens (60+) and riders with disabilities. [42] GoTriangle operates fixed-route buses that serve the metropolitan region and connect to the local municipal transit systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. [43]

Intercity rail

Amtrak's Silver Star, Carolinian and Piedmont passenger trains stop at the Cary Amtrak station. They offer service to Charlotte, New York City, Miami, and intermediate points.


In 2010 the League of American Bicyclists designated Cary as one of the fourteen recipients of the first Bicycle-Friendly Community awards for "providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation". [44]

The Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1 passes through suburban Cary, as does N.C. Bicycle Route #2, the "Mountains to Sea" route.


Cary Greenways and Trails maintains a network of sidewalks and paved trails connecting neighborhoods and parks throughout the town. [44] These greenways place strict requirements on environmental conditions to preserve a park-like atmosphere. In addition, standard sidewalks and paths exist throughout the town.


The Raleigh-Durham International Airport, north of Cary via Interstate 40 between Cary, Raleigh and Durham, serves Cary and the greater Research Triangle metropolitan region. Raleigh-Durham offers more than 35 destinations, serving approximately 9 million passengers per year.

Freeways and primary routes

Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street Chathamstreetcary.png
Downtown Cary, on Chatham Street

Notable people


Sister cities

Cary has four sister cities , as designated by Sister Cities International : [47] [48]

See also

Related Research Articles

Raleigh, North Carolina Capital of North Carolina

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second-largest city in the state, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 469,298 as of July 1, 2018. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.

Durham County, North Carolina U.S. county in North Carolina

Durham County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 267,587, making it the sixth-most populous county in North Carolina. Its county seat is Durham.

Apex, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Apex is a small city in Wake County, North Carolina, around 12 miles southwest of Raleigh. It is 19 square miles of land bordering Cary and is 11 miles south of Research Triangle Park. Eight miles to the west is Jordan Lake. Apex encompasses the community of Friendship at its southern border. In 1994, the downtown area was designated a Historic District. Several buildings date to the late 1800s. It is an example of an intact turn-of-the-century railroad town. The Apex train depot, built in 1867, is designated a Wake County landmark. The depot location marks the highest point on the old Chatham Railroad, hence the town's name. The town motto is "The Peak of Good Living".

Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina Place in North Carolina, United States

Fuquay-Varina is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 18,644 in 2012. The population was 17,937 at the 2010 census, up from 7,898 at the 2000 census. The town is a 14 mile drive south of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. The hyphenated name attests to the town's history as two separate towns. Fuquay Springs and Varina merged in 1963 to create the modern town. Economically, the town initially grew due to tobacco trade and agriculture, but has seen recent population growth and real estate development due to its proximity to Research Triangle Park.

Garner, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Garner is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States and a suburb of Raleigh. The city limits are entirely within Wake County, though portions of unincorporated Wake County, as well as the Cleveland community in northern Johnston County have Garner mailing addresses. The population was estimated to be 28,858 as of July 1, 2018. It is part of the Research Triangle region of North Carolina and serves as a bedroom community for the region.

Knightdale, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Knightdale is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,401. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town's population to be 13,291 as of July 1, 2013. Knightdale's population grew 10.4% from 2010-2012, making it the second fastest-growing community in the Research Triangle region for that time period.

Wake Forest, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Wake Forest is a town in Franklin and Wake counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina; located almost entirely in Wake County, it lies just north of the state capital, Raleigh. The population was 30,117 at the 2010 census, up from 12,588 at the 2000 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city's population to be 34,752 as of July 1, 2013. In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.

Durham, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Durham (/ˈdʌrəm/) is a city in and the county seat of Durham County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Small portions of the city limits extend into Orange County and Wake County. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population to be 251,893 as of July 1, 2014, making it the 4th-most populous city in North Carolina, and the 79th-most populous city in the United States. The city is located in the east-central part of the Piedmont region along the Eno River. Durham is the core of the four-county Durham-Chapel Hill Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 542,710 as of U.S. Census 2014 Population Estimates. The US Office of Management and Budget also includes Durham as a part of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area, commonly known as the Research Triangle, which has a population of 2,037,430 as of U.S. Census 2014 Population Estimates.

Morrisville, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Morrisville is a town located primarily in Wake County, North Carolina. The population was 18,576 at the 2010 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town's population to be 21,932 as of July 1, 2013. Morrisville is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional name originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located midway between the cities of Raleigh and Durham. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. The estimated population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA was 1,565,223 as of July 1, 2006, with the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) portion estimated at 994,551 residents. The headquarters of multinational Lenovo are located in the municipal limits.

Zebulon, North Carolina Place in North Carolina, United States

Zebulon is the easternmost town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 4,433 at the 2010 census. Zebulon is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. Five County Stadium, home to the Carolina Mudcats minor league baseball team, is located in the town.

The Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority, known as GoTriangle, provides regional bus service to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties. The GoTriangle name was adopted in 2015 as part of the consolidated GoTransit branding scheme for the Triangle.

Cedar Fork Township, Wake County, North Carolina township in Wake County, North Carolina

Cedar Fork Township is one of twenty townships within Wake County, North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, Cedar Fork Township had a population of 40,841, a 274.3% increase over 2000.

Piedmont Crescent

The Piedmont Crescent, also known as the Piedmont Urban Crescent, is a large, polycentric urbanized region in the U.S. state of North Carolina that forms the northern section of the rapidly developing Piedmont Atlantic megalopolis, a conurbation also known as the "I-85 Boombelt", which extends from the Raleigh area ) to Atlanta, Georgia in the southeastern United States.

Demographics of North Carolina covers the varieties of ethnic groups who reside in North Carolina and relevant trends.

In 2017, North Carolina's total gross state product was $540,497 billion. In 2011 the civilian labor force was at around 4.5 million with employment near 4.1 million. The working population is employed across the major employment sectors. The economy of North Carolina covers 15 metropolitan areas.

Area codes 919 and 984 area codes in the United States

Area codes 919 and 984 are telephone area codes serving all or parts of eleven counties in the east-central area of the U.S. state of North Carolina. They serve the primary cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill/Carrboro, and the surrounding suburban areas of the Research Triangle metropolitan area, as well as the outlying towns and nearby rural areas of Oxford to the north, Sanford to the south, Goldsboro to the southeast, and Mebane to the west.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is the governing board for Wake County, which includes the City of Raleigh.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


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