Wednesday, August 31, 2022

New Restaurant Coming

 In the middle of the 300 block of North New Hampshire Street in downtown Covington, on the east side of the street, there is a one story brick building currently undergoing renovations. The location is in the process of being converted to a future restaurant. 

On the south side its neighbor is the old courthouse building and on the north side is the Star Theater. 

Last year this is how it looked. It housed two attorneys offices and a barber shop.

This is how it looked in early September of 2022

Work crews were getting ready for the delivery of a big oven

The view of the back of the building, with the microwave tower in the distance and the Star Theater on the right. 

Interesting that the same location was an oyster saloon in 1904, according to the Sanborn Map of that year. 

On the 1915 map it was labelled as a restaurant. 

And on the 1927 map it was still a restaurant.

Here's a view of the building in 1973....

By 1983 it was serving as attorney offices

And in 1997, it survived the downtown tornado with minimum damage.

Covington In The Old Days - Carol Harrison

In the early 1970's, Carol Harrison of Carol's Corner Bookstore fame would travel weekly to the LSU Library in Baton Rouge to take notes from the early pages of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper on what of interest was happening in Covington.

She typed up her discoveries and shared them with readers of the newspaper in 1972, some eighty to ninety years after they first appeared. Here is the text of her articles entitled "Only Yesterday: Covington Potpourri." Some editing has been done.
By Carol Harrison


Looking Back In Time

Time is such a strange thing. The present so soon becomes the past. At first, it's just "yesterday" and then "last year" and then "Goodness, time goes so fast ! It wasn't really five years ago that we did 'thus and so"'. Time goes forward, minute by minute ....hour by hour and day by day ....year by year, and there isn't a thing we can do about it. Wouldn't it be interesting if we could cast ourselves twenty-years into the future and look back on the present age that we're living in now? Just imagine!

Think of the mistakes we could avoid if we could see their end result! But life is not like that. We must live each day ....making mistakes because we are human and paying for our stupidity and short‑sightedness.

       Even though it's impossible to "look back" on our present, we can look back on our ancestors' "present", and its fascinating! For months now, I've been going up to Baton Rouge once a week to spend three and a half to four hours in front of the microfilm machine at the L.S.U. Library, looking at copies of old Covington newspapers. 

       Every edition is a story of the PRESENT.... a written record of life as it  was in Covington at the time the paper went to press! Such a relatively short time age -­ and yet unbelievably dif­ferent in so many, many ways! The way of living, the way of thinking, of dressing, of education, transportation, government, entertainment - ­it's all changed! For the good? Who's to judge? Who can say? One must make that decision for one's self.

       Each Tuesday, it's like a visit back in time, and I have a great feeling of respon­sibility to share my discoveries of our town with you my fellow citizens ....So come with me through this series of articles back in time to Covington as it used to be-‑ such a short time ago--really, only yesterday!

The Early Overview

      There isn't too much in these early papers, but the advertisers alone paint a picture that only a Norman Rockwell could put on paper in a visible form. These were the days of those old fashioned super markets known as General Merchantile Stores. In these emporiums, one could find everything he could possibly need at that time. As A. F. Schrisher, Jr. advertised when he opened his new store and proudly claimed he had "dry goods, hats, chickens, groceries, flour, bacon, sugar, coffee and so on to the end of human wants!" (I don't believe humans wanted as much then as they do now .

       Another store belonging to H. J. Smith advertised as follows: "Dry Goods, Shoes, Hats, Crockery--and highest prices paid for wool, hides, chickens etc".
There were quite a few of these stores--all advertising more or less the same things, so Covington must have been quite a thriving little town. 

       Among the names listed are Jules Pechon, Mrs. O. C. Vogel (she sold wines and liquors along with everything else!), Charles Heintz, A. S. Koltuitz, William C. Warren, J. E. Smith.
You see, Covington was the shipping point to New Orleans markets for all the farm produce for miles around--even into Mississippi and Georgia. People from far and wide would bring their wares to Covington via ox­carts to either sell to the merchants there or to ship directly to New Orleans merchants on the schooners that bi-weekly plied their way back and forth to New Orleans.

The Schooner Trade

       Schooners!! Can you imagine'? It's hard for me to! This was only ninety-three years ago ....only yesterday. But schooners there were, and they provided the lifeblood for Covington's sur­vival and well being. At this time, the light draught schooner F. M. Pippo--along with the steamer Camelia -- seemed to be the most popular ones.

       The schedule  for the F. M. Pippo was as follows:
"Leave Covington every Tuesday and arrives in New Orleans Wednesday"
"Leave New Orleans Saturday and arrives in Covington Sunday"
Rates of Freight: Cotton per bale—$.25, Dry barrels-­$.25, Sacks--$.15.

Occasionally, when the F. M. Pippo or the Camelia needed repairs or a new paint job, which they would get at the thriving Madisonville ship yards, they'd be replaced by other schooners. The "Dorio and "Doris" were the substitutes for the Pippo when she was 'laid up', and the "Abita" came to the Camelia's aid.

   Everything seemed to be peaceful and quiet on the water front--both schooners getting their fair share of the trade. Suddenly however, the plot thickened and a young upstart lady steamer by the name of "Alice" appeared on the formally tranquil scene. The ads in the paper fairly bristled! 

The New Camelia and Abita advertised: "guaranteed prices below rates charged by Alice and the new little lady grandly advertised "$.75 round trip to New Orleans. The excursion will take place without fail-­wind and weather per­mitting." 

Then the sassy little steamer planned three trips a week to New Orleans instead of the New Camelia's two. Can't you just see Captain C. S. D. Porter of the Alice glower at Captain Hannover of the New Camelia on passing on the street? About this time (1880) the New Camelia was sold to Mr. W. G. Coyle who also owned the steamer Heroine-­  so another soldier entered the ranks!

       Around 1881 yet another schooner started plying her way on the New Orleans, Mandeville, Madisonville, Covington route--a boat by the happy name of  The Sunbeam. The captain of this ship was Mr. John Poitevent. In his ad, he mentioned that he landed in New Orleans at "Canal and Carondelet Streets."

      Another schooner that came to Covington and was always eagerly anticipated-­especially by the editor was the ship Velocity captained by a Mr. Rhodes. This very popular ship was the town's seemingly best source of fresh oysters--although on occasion Captain Clark on the schooner Chinchuba would bring in a load.

      Although the New Camelia, the H. M. Pippo, and the Alice seem to have been the most popular schooners, a few more names pop up in the old issues of The Farmer from time to time. There was the Two Sons which "left from the head of the New Basin Canal in New Orleans every Thursday and from Covington every Monday". Then there was a schooner by the name of the Bessie M. whose Captain was Mr. John Boardman, but after two months on the "lake trade" he evidently found the competition too great and moved to the Gulf Coast to do business.
Then in 1886 there appeared on the scene a schooner named Day Dream which was purchased by a group of Covington business men whose president was Colonel Joseph A. Walker.

       The schooner Rebecca owned by Frank Hosmer and Adolph Frederick appeared suddenly in 1886 in this lucrative New Orleans-­Covington traffic jam across Lake Pontchartrain.

Dredging The River A Key To Commerce

Because of the vital importance of this boat communication between New Orleans and this side of the lake, it was imperative that the Tchefuncte River and its delta be dredged periodically to allow these boats between enough depth to navigate. Evidently this was done not too infrequently, and was financed by the state. This time in 1886, the folks who lived on the Bogue Falaya and used that river for freighting, decided to try for state funds also--which they succeeded in getting. 

In the article in The Farmer where they discuss the need for the dredging, the writer told about three bad sand bars that were giving the schooners trouble. "Two" he said are "in front of the town of Covington and one near the wreck of the gunboat Oregon" which is bound to have been an old civil war boat !

Even after the money was appropriated, it took months of pushing and complaining on the part of the citizens to actually get the work done. Committees would come down from Baton Rouge to discuss "ways and means" and in the meantime the schooners would get grounded and tempers wore thin.

       The schooners would pull up to the wharf at the end of Columbia Street--or Old Landing depending, I think, on the amount of water in the river. Columbia Street was handier for loading freight. However, even back then, there were constant  articles fussing about the terrible state of disrepair that the road leading down to the river was in. 

Road Repairs

       At one time, it was contracted by the city to fix it, and this was ac­complished by dumping a lot of brick bats in the holes. Have you walked down there lately? You can still see the results of that contract. (No time at all ago if the brick bats are still there! ) 

       A typical list of freight of the time must have been as this quote "cotton, cattle, tar, broom handles, eggs, molassas, sand" (really) "Five tons junk"!

       These boats were THE only touch the people of Covington and its environs had with the outside world! Just imagine! There were no telephones. no telegraph, no trains or planes or radio or television. These boats were it! There were, of course, stage coach lines connecting these towns, but this was a hazardous, time consuming and undependable means of travel as bridges were constantly being washed away and roads flooded. 

       No, these boats were it! It was they that brought the mail, and news of the big outside world, and visitors to Covington--and their coming and going was understandably a big occasion. The captains of these ships were very honored and respected men.

Hack Lines (Taxi Services)

Travel on land was com­pletely dependent on the horse--either by itself under a saddle or pulling a carriage. The equivalent to our buses and taxi cabs were horse drawn vehicles. There was a steady ad appearing in these early papers advertising a "hack line" belonging to Mr. Robert Badon whose ad read thus: "This old and popular carrier, meeting the steamer  Camelia at Madisonville, Mandeville. and Old Landing is carrying U. S. Mail, and thereby enabled to out distance all opposition. Everyone is treated cour­teously and charges are uniform and no delay on account of old horses and other vexation. Traveler desirous of speed and safety, will look out for Mr. Baton,"

Bridges and Ferries

        In imagining this sort of means of transportation you must realize that there were very few bridges, and those that were, were extremely unreliable. At Madisonville, for example, there was no bridge--only a ferry operated by a Mr. Charles Davis, who advertised that he was opened at "all hours of day and night", and that his rates were as follows: "Horse and Carriage—$.20, Ox Wagons and Teams--$.45, Single Horse--.$10, Passenger-‑ $.05." 

       Constantly in these old papers, are reports of bridges either being totally destroyed by floods or ones in dangerous stages of disrepair. It seems as though in almost every issue they're either passing our beer in celebrating the repairing of a bridge, or trying to collect money to fix another. 

       When a bridge was out of com­mission, a temporary ferry boat would be installed to get horses and carriages across the rivers.


       We read with horror of our present day automobile wrecks, but with no more horror than in their "present" read of accidents brought on by their means of transportation. There were constant reports of runaway horses and carriages. Once the editor of the paper looked out of his window to see Mr. So and So's riderless horse go cantering down the main street! 

The worse accident thus far reported was one that happened at Old Landing back in 1885. It all started when the rival steamers, the New Camelia and the Grover Cleveland pulled up to the landing at the same time. One blew his whistle to the other, and the other responded with a loud toot from his. In the meantime, the passengers happily hollered from one boat to another. 

Evidently, the resulting noise frightened the horses waiting on the shore, and four of them who were pulling carriages, panicked! Fortunately, it was reported, there was a full moon, or the damage would have been much worse. As it was, one elderly woman who was in the process of getting into a carriage when the noise started was thrown to the ground and badly hurt, as well as a very interesting person who I had come to be a great admirer of, was killed. 

This worthy gentleman was Mr. T. W. Rawlings, overseer of the Sulphur Springs Plantation. He frequently used to come into the newspaper office bringing produce that he had raised to share with our most ap­preciative editor.

Hotels and Boarding Houses

       Covington was then, as it is now, a place of peace and quiet where the New Orleans people escaped to. They would come over on one of the schooners, be met at the landing by a carriage who would in turn take them to the hotel or boarding house of their choice--and there were many ! --both in Covington and Abita Springs (the famous watering place of the South ).

      Among these resorts, those that seem to be the finest were Mulberry Grove managed by Mr. Charles Thiery, three miles outside of Covington on the Lee Road, which is now privately owned by Mrs. Donald Maginnis, Sr.

        The water from the well here was analyzed and found to be equal in quality to Abita Springs water. Claiborne Cottage which was located in the small community of Claiborne which then existed across the Bogue Falaya from Covington where Thrift Drugs and Claiborne Hill Super Market now stand. 

It was managed for many years by "Mr. J. Jaufroid" and "Mrs. E. Jaufroid". The Martindale House which was owned by Mr. F. B. Mar­tindale who was the mayor at the time. This house was later sold to Mr. C. G. Joyner and became known as the "Joyner House". Cedar Grove Hotel owned by Mr. Francis A. Guyol ; then there was Mrs. Bossier's Boarding House in Abita Springs: and Rosedale Cottage which used to be an old convent and was bought and converted into a hotel by Mrs. L. C. LeBreton. 

The famous Long Branch Hotel which advertised 18 rooms and was then managed by a Mr. Frank Level (who later walked into the woods one bright and sunny mor­ning in 1880 and killed himself! ).

Abita Springs Resorts

       Abita Springs as you readers probably know was a very popular and fashionable "watering place" and summer resort. In 1886 a group of supposedly far‑seeing New Orleans businessmen got together and formed the Abita Springs Company. They organized to form plans to (1) build a large resort hotel, (2) to clean up the whole town, and (3) to build a train from Mandeville so that the New Orleans customers would be con­veniently and quickly transported to the luxurious accommodations awaiting them. 

       This company issued stock which was offered for sale--but which was even­tually all bought by a Mr. William Henry who thereby became sole owner of the company. He told a newspaper reporter "We will have the best and most at­tractive watering place in this country". It's just as well that Mr. Henry can't see his dream town now!
From the ads, one can, with the magic aid of imagination "see" what life in these pleasant summer resorts must have been like. All of these establishments were designed to provide peace, quiet and healthful rest to their guests. They were in operation only during the summer months and closed during the winter. They advertised "shade trees" and healthful water from "deep artisian wells", "excellent cuisine with fresh homegrown vegetables."

Home and Parties 

These guests didn't rush over for a quick weekend as we do now, they came to spend the summer, and the hotels, realizing this tried to create a real "home" atmosphere. At this time, one didn't leap out of bed to leap to the grocery to leap to the cleaners .. wasn't a "leaping" at­mosphere at all. Ladies would leisurely wander among the shade trees and spend pleasant hours with other ladies on benches under the shade trees sewing and chatting and reading such popular magazines as Godey's Lady's Book, Vanity Fair or Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine.

       The cost of these hotels and boarding houses seemed to be more or less the same, i.e.: "Board for month--$30.00, Per week--$7.50, Per day $1.50". These prices included three meals a day!

       I'm sure an oft discussed subject among these ladies was either a party that has already taken place or one that was soon to do so. Several of these events have been described in these old newspapers, and ....oh!...more than almost any other comparison, these parties show how very different those times and ours are! 

There was one party especially that was described which sounded utterly delightful! It took place at the home of Mrs. John Charles Barelli which is presently the lovely home of Mrs. Fred Chapman. This house was built before the War Between the States, and was at this time in a beautiful state of repair with flower gardens adorning it like a well-dressed lady. 

       This particular party was a garden party given for the benefit of the Methodist Church. It was described as being the "social event of the year" and not only was a fine party where everyone en­joyed themselves tremen­dously, but was also a financial success for the church--netting an un­believable amount of money which I won't even quote here, because I'm sure the paper accidently added an extra zero or two. 

At this party they had "parlor charades, vocal and in­strumental music, recitals by `young ladies' and concluding with comic and sentimental songs, sketches, etc. by the amatuer groups called "Covington Minstrals". 

The article went on to describe the refreshments as being ice cream, cakes, candies, and punch. The young people danced 'till the wee hours of the morning' and, after the church folks had gone home "spirits" were served. "The church party was over at 12 o'clock" was the answer to the criticism they got !

       Another gala party was  given at the Bossier House in Abita--an ice-cream party that served two hundred guests! It also had parlor games, dialogues, `speakings', recitals by 'young ladies' and dancing. (No 'spirits' were reported at this one!) In the report, the names of the various dances were listed ! --they being "the Virginia Reel, Waltz, Polka, Mazourba, Heel and Toe, and the Tucker".

       They sound like fun, don't they?--much more fuss than what our sole entertainment has gotten reduced to cocktail parties!

Patent Medicines & Home Remedies

       There are three more I absolutely must tell you about: Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription "which is best of all restorative tonics". It's for "worn-out, 'run-down' debilitaled school teachers, dress-makers, milliners, and over-worked women in general." The second is "For Men Only- a quick, per­manent, certain cure for lost or failing manhood, ner­vousness, weakness, lack of strength, vigor or develop­ment." There was no name with this ad--just an address where this precious elixor could be purchased!

       And that last--but far from 'least' is this absolutely wonderful friend to theladies . . Just listen! and I quote: "Wine for Women ...McElree's Wine of Cardui--makes ladies vivacious, cheerful and fascinating in society. It converts scolding wives, cross sisters and homely girls into loving mothers, amiable daughters and beautiful women. It corrects all derangments peculiar to ladies, relieves the pains to which they are subject, quiets the nerves, purifies the blood. and restores health. It also imparts vitality and insures a clear complexion!"

       How in the world are we surviving without these wonders that our ancestors enjoyed! Think of our "torpid livers", our impure blood, our jangled nerves, our falling wombs, our failing manhood! All could be cured so easily if someone would only restore to us these lost elixirs of life!

       Then, if these marvelous cures didn't work, there were some "home remedies" that had been passed down from one generation to another that simply couldn't fail! I ran across several, and what's so unbelievable to contemplate on is the fact that even some of the diseases that these claimed they could cure are no longer a threat !

       Here are a few home cures mentioned "Alder leaves steeped in hot water and applied warm will speedily reduce swelling occasioned by cuts". And "a Dr T. P. Clingman claims that leaves of tobacco moistened in water and applied to affected parts will cure gout. rheumatism, neuralgia and other similar diseases. It also may be applied to cuts and wounds." 

       As well as: "White of eggs for burns and scalds ....raw eggs for dysentery.... for a boil take skin from a boiled egg. Peal carefully, wet and apply to boil. It will draw-off the matter and relieve soreness in a few hours."
       There were no dermatologists, and the local doctors were probably miles away. Besides, there weren't the lovely pain killer friends we have today to help us.

Deadly Plagues

       There were, of course, at this time horrible plagues that would kill hundreds of people in a matter of weeks. The three that are most often mentioned in these old papers are yellow fever, smallpox and cholera--the first being the most feared in these parts. 

       In one of the very first papers there is a quote from the New Orleans Democrat which states: "The loss by yellow fever through the destruction of crops by neglect, stoppage of trade and minor causes is estimated at $200.000,000." The people were justifiably terrified of this killer and the newspaper reported any cases in surrounding areas. ..such as: 
"Yellow fever has appeared in New Orleans. Several cases and two or three deaths repor­ted"; 
"Many interior towns are quarantining against New Orleans's mails, freights, and passengers":
"180 cases of yellow fever reported in Memphis--82 deaths"; 
"Yellow fever continues in Memphis:
Monday, August 18, 1879-­New Cases: 17 Deaths: 7.
Tuesday, August 19, 1879-­New Cases: 31 Deaths: 5.
Wednesday. August 20, 1879--New Cases: 27 Deaths: 4
"Continues unabaited in Pensacola and is conceded to be assuming a more malignant type": 
"In Havanna deaths nearly one hundred per week": 
"Broke out in Biloxi. Mississippi-‑quaranteened--trains don't stop " Biloxi and Mississippi City--strict quaranteens on both cities...."
And then a small report that a Dr. Carlos Finley was making experiments in Havanna with mosquitos.

Just a small insignificant article. "Mosquitos!" You can just hear people say "How ridiculous! These doctors and their silly notions!"

       Smallpox was the next most feared and even though "Doctor Jenner's vac­cination" was known, and it was not by any means trusted by the average 'folk'. However, the newspapers were doing their best by urging people to be vac­cinated. If smallpox broke out in a house, a yellow flag must be flown on the premise to warn people.

       In fact, here again, the home remedy was a lot more dependable--it being "one  ounce of cream of tartar to a pint of water. It will cure a victim in three days time. It has not failed in 100,000 cases!"

       The only reference to cholera was a very small report of a terrible epidemic in Egypt which seemed likely to be spreading to London--In this article it said, "Mr. Pasteur says everything must be boiled to combat it."


       As far as good, honest-to‑goodness  conventional medicine went in Covington, there seemed to be two doctors at first. One was Dr. E. R. Randolph and the other was Dr. J. E. Chambers. The former's ad read "Late of New Orleans ....tenders his professional services to the people of St. Tammany Parish and surrounding country." (And this large area covered by horse and carriage alone. )
This Dr. Randolph was evidently so busy with his work that he never changed his newspaper ad and from 1878 when he first started advertising in the Farmer til he died the ad continued to state "late of New Orleans". This man was not only a doctor, but was an extremely active citizen of Covington. He was on the school board for several years and ended up being mayor of the town.

       Dr. J. E. Chambers ad­vertised that his office was "next door to Ingram's Corner." In 1880 there appeared a new doctor by the name of Dr. S. W. Rawlins whose office was on Columbia Street.

       These three doctors did their best to keep the people of Covington in good health until in 1882 they were joined by yet another man of medicine--a Dr. B. B. Warren, whose office was  over his father's drugstore.

       Then came Dr. George Tebault ("Late of Man­deville") and a Dr. D. B. Peirce ("Late of Franklinton"). Then in 1881 a Dr. C. Faget "of Paris and New Orleans" set up an office in Mr. Cahier's store!

Covington, therefore ap­peared to be not only the shipping center of the area but the medical one as well!

       As far as dentists went at this time, there seemed to be only one in residence--a Dr. F. H. Knapp. Occasionally, however one would advertise that he would be in Covington for a week or two and would take patients while in town. Dr. A. C. Gribble whose office was in Rosedale cottage was one of these."

End of "Only Yesterday, Covington Potpourri" article

Click on the above image to make it larger and more readable.

Carol Harrison Jahncke went on to compile her research into a hard cover book entitled "Mr. Kentzel's Covington." 

See also:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Butter Churning 101

 Some 50 years ago, in 1972, taking pictures at 22nd Avenue Kindergarten in Covington was an adventure. The particular picture shown below brought together a lot of kids, a learning experience in churning butter, and eating hot buttered biscuits at the finish. Not everyone was patiently waiting for the butter to be ready, however. They wanted to eat their biscuit now. 

Click on the images to make them larger.

Covington Daily News - May 30, 1972

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50th Wedding Anniversary In Folsom

 Ben and Therese Bensen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Giddy Up coffee house and cafe in Folsom Saturday night, August 27, 2022. Around 50 people attended the gala event, several of those from out of state. Here are some photographs- click on the images to make them larger. 

The cake and the honored couple

There was music and dancing and good food.

Among those present were Frank Richerand, owner of the Giddy Up, at right

The Giddy Up is decorated in a variety of horse riding artifacts

A slide show depicting 50 years of happy marriage was shown

A few of the slides showed early childhood photographs

Jenny Epperson and Diane Winston were among the guests

Artwork by Ben Bensen decorated the walls of the Giddy Up for the occasion, and some of his paintings were also on display at the Far Horizons Art Gallery next door. Some of the out of town guests were staying at the Giddy Up's new Air BNB accommodations across the side street, which are called The Stables

See also:

Giddy Up Concert, Art Show and Sunset

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Talleys Celebrate 60th Wedding Anniversary

 In 1960, some 62 years ago,  Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Talley of Covington celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, having married in 1900. 

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Source: St. Tammany Farmer newspaper Jan. 22, 1960

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Friday, August 26, 2022

Architectural Treasures Listed

 In 1972 Leonard Huber spoke to the chamber of commerce auxiliary about the many architectural treasures that could be found in St. Tammany Parish. Here is the article from the January 27, 1972 issue of the St. Tammany Farmer. Click on the image to make it larger and more readable. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

St. Tammany Parish Hospital Guild

The St. Tammany Parish Hospital Guild was established in March of 1954 by 26 women associated with the institution in various ways. They provided a number of services to patients and staff that made the hospital experience a little more hospitable.  Here's an article from the St. Tammany Farmer in 1955 that describes the group's first year activities. 

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In 1976 the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Guild celebrated their 21st anniversary at the hospital. It was a well-attended occasion and noted as a community achievement.

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February 15, 1976