TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: From Our Archives: Exchange Names in St. Louis

From Our Archives: Exchange Names in St. Louis

TELECOM Digest Editor (
Sun, 26 Mar 2006 17:04:55 EST

The remainder of this issue of the Digest are some articles from our
archives, dealing with telephone exchange names. Most articles are
twenty years old, dating from 1986. An article by Mark Cuccia dates
back to 1996. I hope you will enjoy re-reading them and needless
to say _do not_ use any of these old email addresses given.


25-Jan-86 08:16:06-EST,491;000000000001
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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 86 8:15:03 EST
From: Carl Moore (VLD/VMB) <cmoore@BRL.ARPA>
cc: cmoore@BRL.ARPA
Subject: Re: Named Exchanges

Could not send to swenson:

LAndscape 5 is a THREE-character exchange?
25-Jan-86 08:26:23-EST,749;000000000001
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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 86 8:20:34 EST
From: Carl Moore (VLD/VMB) <cmoore@BRL.ARPA>
cc: cmoore@BRL.ARPA
Subject: exchange names using 2 words

There is also CHestnut Hill in Philadelphia, MUrray Hill in Manhattan,
WHite Plains and MOunt Vernon in Westchester County (NY), and someone
has mentioned MUrray Hill in Murray Hill, NJ (location of Bell Labs).
I have seen ATlantic City (NJ) but this does not correspond to the
dial prefixes I now see in the 609 area.

25-Jan-86 12:51:33-EST,615;000000000001
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Date: Sat, 25 Jan 86 12:56:21 EST
From: "Keith F. Lynch" <KFL@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU>
Subject: Named Exchanges
Message-ID: <[MC.LCS.MIT.EDU].795949.860125.KFL>


How about the non-exchange, non-dialable, ZEnith X-XXXX numbers?.
These were pre 800 800 numbers. "Call you local operator and ask for
ZEnithX-XXXX, no cost to calling party".

Huh? There is no "Z" on the dial.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: (in 2006) ... Zenith and Enterprise
numbers only had four digits, _never_ five; they were never
dialable and today have been largely replaced by 800, 888, 877 and
866 numbers which _are_ dialable. Pat]

Keith25-Jan-86 18:27:28-EST,352;000000000001
Date: Sat 25 Jan 86 15:24:18-PST
From: Doug <>
Subject: numbers to exchange names, now.

I'm not bored yet.

My exchange in Oakland CA is 655-. Does anyone know if it was a
"named" exchange. My friends have 547- in Oakland, also. Same
question. Thanks.

27-Jan-86 08:35:28-EST,267;000000000001
From: hplabs!tektronix!athena!
To: telecom@teklds.tek
Subject: Trivial Query
Date: 25 Jan 86 18:16:09 PST (Sat)

This could get interesting. How many people remember those names?
Dale Lehmann
Tektronix, Inc.
Beaverton, Oregon

30-Jan-86 15:45:37-EST,3627;000000000000
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 86 14:26:02 CST
From: Will Martin -- AMXAL-RI <wmartin@ALMSA-1.ARPA>
To: telecom@MIT-XX.ARPA
Subject: Prefix names

Well, I could try relying on memory, and I'm sure I would provide some
wrong or otherwise worthless info, so I went to the source. I went to
the St. Louis public library and asked for a telephone book from the
early 50's. (It took them a couple tries to find one with the front
pages, with the dialling instructions and suchlike, intact enough to
read -- it's interesting how frangible a telephone book gets in only
35 years... :-)

Anyway, here is some "official" info on named exchanges in the St. Louis, MO
area in 1953:

Exchanges in the St. Louis City area:

CAbany GEneva MUlberry
CEntral GOodfellow NEwstead
CHestnut GRand OLive
COlfax HIland PArkview
CUmberland HUdson PLateau
DElmar JEfferson PRospect
EVergreen LAclede ROsedale
FIreside LOckhart SIdney
FLanders LUcas STerling
FOrest MAin SWeetbriar
FRanklin MIssion VErnon 2
GArfield MOhawk VOlunteer 3

Some of these equate to street names, but others are sort of

While I didn't copy all the suburban area exchange lists, I copied
one. Note this interesting difference between the names. Some have
capitalized two-letter beginnings, while others do not. Maybe the ones
with no capital-letter-pairs cannot be direct-dialed, and had to be
asked for through an operator? (I dunno; just a guess...)

TEmple 7
UNderhill 7
University 4
VIctor 7-8
Vulcan 6

Here's something interesting: on the cover of the suburban directory for
1953 is a table of prefix changes, that were scheduled to go into effect
at 12:01 AM December 6, 1953. (My birthday! How nice! I don't think I
knew about it, being 8 at the time...:-)

ATwater to VIctor 7
AXminster to WYdown 2 or 7
DIxon to VIctor 3
FEnton to DAvis 6
KIrkwood to TAylor 1 or 2
LAke to LEhigh 6
POnd to CRestview 3
REpublic to WOodland 1 or 2
TErryhill to YOrktown 5
TUlane 4 to WOodland 1 or 2
WAbash to WAbash 2
WEbster to WOodland 1 or 2
WIllow 2 to ESsex 5
WIllow 3 to BUtler 5
WIllow 4 to ESsex 6
WIllow 5 to ATlas 7
WIllow 7 to JUstice 7
WInfield to WInfield 6
WYdown to WYdown 1

Again, some of these are the names of streets or communities, but
others are arbitrary words with no particular local references that
come to mind (there might BE real local references, but mayhap they
are in areas I am unfamiliar with and don't recognize).

Anyway, it was interesting looking at that old phonebook. I looked up
my own old number and it wasn't anything like what I remembered! (I
had thought it was a GRand but it was a LAclede; maybe it changed
later, before it changed to a PRospect, which number my mother has
retained to this day [address unchanged during this].) Found various
relatives' listings, etc.

So what does this prove? Not a heck of a lot, but I think we can
generalize and say that phone-number-word-prefixes were a mixture of
nationwide arbitrary words (FIreside, EVergreen, WIllow) and local
specific street or community names (DElmar, CAbany, KIrkwood). If
someone can get access to telco historical files, maybe they can find
a "master list" of prefix names to use nationwide when there was no
appropriate local name to use instead?

Well, if your time machine zaps you back to St. Louis in the '50's, at
least you'll find the phone numbers familiar ... Look me up and give me
some copies of the Wall Street Journal for the following decades,

Regards, Will Martin

3-Apr-86 11:43:49-EST,1407;000000000001
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Date: 3 Apr 86 11:37 EST
From: Denber.wbst@Xerox.COM
Subject: Numbering Plans Revisited
To: Telecom@XX.LCS.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: <860403-083839-1247@Xerox>

There was some discussion of telephone numbering plans on this list
last fall. I ran across an interesting article yesterday on national
numbering plans in the Bell System Technical Journal from Sept. 1952
by W.H. Nunn, which you may find of interest. A short excerpt
(p. 854):

Table I - Different Types of Numbering Plans

Place Directory Listing Referred to as

Philadelphia, Pa. LOcust 4-5678 Two-five
Los Angeles, Cal. PArkway 2345 and Combined two-four
REpublic 2-3456 and two-five
Indianapolis, Ind. MArket 6789 Two-four
El Paso, Texas PRospect 2-3456 Combined two-five
and 5-5678 and five digit
San Diego, Cal. Franklin 9-2345 One letter, four and
Franklin 6789 five digit
Des Moines, Iowa 4-1234 and Combined five and
62-2345 six digit
Binghamton, N.Y. 2-5678 Five digit
Manchester, Conn. 5678 and 2-2345 Combined four and
five digit
Winchester, Va. 3456 Four digit
Ayer, Mass. 629 and 2345 Combined three and
four digit
Jamesport, N.Y. 325 Three-digit

- Michel

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