You know, now that you guys have got going on this riff, I do remember letter-number phone numbers
being exchanged even when I was old enough to notice such things, which means early 70's. Our home
number where I grew up was 967-2652, and I definitely remember my parents giving it out as WO7-2652
and me being told to remember that before going to kindergarten, which would be circa 1971. I also
remember when we started saying 967-2652, shortly after that. I'm not sure if that coincided with an
ad campaign for area codes and 10-digit dialing or what. I'm pretty sure area codes and 10-digit
numbers were in force before then.
Where I live now, the long-time exchange was 279, and you still notice on old-timers' fridges and
walls that they just have 4-digit numbers written down, the assumption being the first three numbers
are 279. In the case of "newer" numbers like my home number (issued 1994), that would be written
down 8-XXXX (since the "newer" exchange is 278). I noticed this same trend up where my wife grew up,
where the exchanges were 376 (6-XXXX) for the immediate town and 377 (7-XXXX) for most of the
surrounding farm land.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 11:25 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NY City Phone exchanges; was - Tone-Arts Records
> Hello, Peter,
> I grew up in Forest Hills--my family owned the same home from 1921 until I sold it in 1981.
> When I was moving in 1981, I found a record (telephone bill) from the 1930s, IIRC, that showed the
> telephone number to be BOUlevard 8076.
> When you ended up dialing that, it was 268. One step that seemed to have occurred in the 1940s or
> 1950s was the splitting of exchanges (might have occurred sooner).
> If you notice the "U" in BOUlevard is "8" so when they went from BOUlevard to BOulevard 8, the
> original numbers did not change. They added at least a BOulevard 3 and one other number, but it
> escapes me--I think it was BOulevard 1, but I'm not so sure as I am of BOulevard 3.
> As an aside, someone moving into the neighbourhood did not like getting a phone number that
> started with "BO" when he used deodorant, but that's another story.
> In the 1950s we also had LIGgett numbers, and those became LI4 numbers, and then 544--an overlay,
> in a sense of the 26x numbers.
> I had 268-8076 until about 1975 when I wanted more features and had to change my number as the 268
> exchange was running on old equipment. The 520 exchange was another overlay and I suspect was an
> I took a step backwards when I moved to Aurora, ON, the first time in 1981. I had the original 727
> exchange and, at that time, you could dial people in that exchange by merely dialing four digits.
> At that time it was in the 416 area code and dialing Toronto was long distance.
> I did not get touch tone until I moved to Glendale California in 1983 and got a number in the 213
> area code. That was changed within a year or three when the 213 code split off the 818 code.
> When we moved back to Aurora in 2004, no 727 numbers were available. We have three numbers (one
> line) in the 751 exchange and my business line is in the 713 exchange. Now this is in the 905 area
> code but Toronto is a local call (and the monthly rates are higher, but the calls are cheaper).
> Interestingly, while calls from the 905 area code to the 416 area code are local, calls within the
> 905 area code across different "spokes" radiating from Toronto are toll calls...so our cell phones
> are 416 numbers.
> What is interesting about this is how soon memory fades about how things were and how technology
> used to be operated. I'm seeing this already with our magic sound reproduction boxes that appear
> to many to be arcane magic rather than simply a former, pervasive technology. I recall most of my
> friends knowing how to mount a cartridge in a turntable. Fewer knew how to align a tape
> recorder...but some did.
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.