TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: The First Mayoral Long-Distance Call

The First Mayoral Long-Distance Call

Mark Roberts (
Tue, 25 Oct 2005 04:35:28 -0000

"Mayor to Get 1st Dial Phone Call From N.J.", in the Oakland
(Calif.) Tribune, November 9, 1951.

[Alameda is the island community adjacent to Oakland on the south.]

ALAMEDA, Nov. 9 -- Leslie Denning and Frank Osborn -- who don't know
each other -- will make history together tomorrow.

They will inaugurate the first transcontinental direct dialing system.

Denning, the mayor of Englewood, N.J., a small city on the Palisades
facing Manhattan, will twirl his telephone dial 10 times and, in a
matter of seconds, be connected with Alameda's Mayor in his City Hall

Englewood was chosen by Bell Telephone Company technicians as the
"guinea pig" site for establishing the ultra-complex mechanisms that
will enable the area's 10,000 residents to dial telephone calls to
most parts of the country direct.

Thus far, the new direct system [rip in clipping lost some words] can
be placed in operation [another rip] in the New Jersey city.


Their Mayor will be given his history-making companion's number -- LA
kehurst 3-9727 -- but before ringing that up on his phone he will spin
out 4-1-5.

That is the code number for the Oakland area, good for dialing any
phone in Alameda, Albany, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville,
Hayward, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and San

[I'll interject here: Based on my reading of the phone directories
from this period, the core "East Bay" area extended from El Cerrito,
just to the south of Richmond, to San Leandro. I'm not sure what would
have been considered local to Richmond or San Pablo; similarly, what
would have been local to San Lorenzo and Hayward.]

Similarly, the area code number for the San Francisco area is
[missing]-8 [is this 3-1-8? I'll have to check the microfilms]; for
Sacramento, it is 9-1-6; for New York it is 1-1; for Chicago, it is

Denning, employed by a New York investment firm, will make the call at
about 8:30 am (11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard time). At [missing] .m,
Englewood residents can begin dialing their friends across the nation.

[Too much was missing from around the rest of the article to
transcribe, though the article indicates that company and newsreel
photographers would be on the scene. Also notable was that the Alameda
Times-Star 25 years later ran anniversary stories about the occasion,
also in the Oakland Public Library's clippings file. At the time, the
Times-Star was an independent newspaper; it has since been merged into
the Oakland Tribune.]

Mark Roberts | "A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity,
Oakland, Cal.| but rather by touching both at once."
NO HTML MAIL | -- Blaise Pascal
Permission to archive this article in any form is hereby explicitly denied.

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