BayouCityGirl

Houston Phone Numbers Became "numbers"

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You're fast!  And if I remember correctly, you could dial 222-71xx (anything for the last two numbers) and you would still get it - so in the days of the old rotary phones, I got in the habit of dialing 222-7111.  B)

It does not work anymore. How is a person expected to the get the time if he does not own a clock, computer, cell phone, beeper or watch. All 6 of them.

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Ashikaga    2
My parents owned a house in Breckenridge, Colorado until 1994 and way back in the early 80's I remember only having to dial the 4 numbers.  Every phone is the city had the prefix 453.    As the town grew I assume this all changed.  I just remember dialing the four digits.    Interesting.

On "Hee-Haw," I think that most people will remember "Junior Sample's Used Cars." He would always say: "The number to call is BR-549."

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Ashikaga    2
My parents owned a house in Breckenridge, Colorado until 1994 and way back in the early 80's I remember only having to dial the 4 numbers.  Every phone is the city had the prefix 453.    As the town grew I assume this all changed.  I just remember dialing the four digits.    Interesting.

I remember one place we lived at we had to share a party line with our next door neighbors. We got along with them pretty good, so it wasn't too bad.

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notsuoh    0
How about:  FA-irfax,  MI-lby,  OL-ive,  MI-ssion,  VA-lentine &  PR-esident ?  As I remember it, most of the downtown businesses in Houston  had the CApitol numbers.

dont forget PR for preston

you can go to the texas room and look at the old city directories (you only have to go back to around the 60s) to see the phone numbers listed that way. If you have never been to Texas room at the library, go there immediately!

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Tejo    5
In the 1960's my dad said Houston had a unique dialing code (like a bunch of letters instead of numbers) can someone give me any more info on what that was like. I'm REALLY curious!

He found an old menu from "Juniors" and when the Astrodome opened which had these "letters" instead of numbers. I hope someone knows what I'm talking about. Its hard to explain. :-/

When I started school in the late 60's, I remember my mother drumming into my head our telephone number- RE3- 2755.

It wasn't until later that I discovered that RE was/is Republic.

I became fascinated with the exchanges after that. One exchange that I always sounded cool to me was/is Satsuma- which I believe is the Jersey Village/Northwest Houston area. I fact the phone books of the 70's contained a map which divided the area into districts and provided each district's name- Central, Republic, Satsuma- so on.

Cool topic- thanks for the memories!

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Ashikaga    2
interesting

:)

I found a website that had a map of the U.S. when area codes started back in 1947. At that time, the entire state of Texas had four area codes: 713, 214, 512, & 915. It explained that in a state that had more than one area code, the second digit was 1. In states that had only one area code, the second digit was 0.

I think that I can safely say that Texas now has, at the very least, ten area codes. They say that more area codes are needed because prefixes become exhausted due to the proliferation of not just regular telephones, but of cell phones, pagers, and fax machines.

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zaphod    5
As an aside, I recall watching cartoons as a child where anytime they mentioned a phone number it was KL5-something ("Klondike 5"). I guess that is the equivalent to today's "555" prefix, a generic prefix that perhaps never existed in real life.

they did that on the first few seasons of the simpsons. They were putting up flyers and the simpsons phone number was KL5-8345 or something like that.

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Ashikaga    2
they did that on the first few seasons of the simpsons. They were putting up flyers and the simpsons phone number was KL5-8345 or something like that.

The only letter/word prefix that I remember from back in the "old" days of Houston is "NA" which stood for NATIONAL.

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Ashikaga    2
On "Hee-Haw," I think that most people will remember "Junior Sample's Used Cars." He would always say: "The number to call is BR-549."

Yes, many things about telephone calls have changed. You no longer have to wait until certain times of the day in order to be charged less for a long distance call. On most cell phones, you can call almost anywhere. And phone companies have a flat monthy fee to call anywhere, anytime. It's nothing now to call from Houston to New York.

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Bubba    0

I grew up in the HI exchange. HIGHLAND, I guess. Our number was HI2-9839, later becoming known as 442 exchange on the northside of Houston. My cousins lived near Northline Mall and had OX5-0930. OXFORD exchange.

Just taking inventory of phone numbers just for my immediate family, we have:

1) Home number for the wife & I.

2) Home Fax number.

3) My cell

4) Wife cell

5) Teenagers home number

6) Daughters cell

7) Sons cell

8) Toll free Home number

No wonder we are adding more and more area codes.

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FilioScotia    112
I grew up in the HI exchange. HIGHLAND, I guess. Our number was HI2-9839, later becoming known as 442 exchange on the northside of Houston. My cousins lived near Northline Mall and had OX5-0930. OXFORD exchange.

Just taking inventory of phone numbers just for my immediate family, we have:

1) Home number for the wife & I.

2) Home Fax number.

3) My cell

4) Wife cell

5) Teenagers home number

6) Daughters cell

7) Sons cell

8) Toll free Home number

No wonder we are adding more and more area codes.

Actually, HI stood for Hillcrest. In the days of word-prefixes on phone numbers, you could tell at a glance what part of town a person lived in. For example, MOhawk numbers were in Bellaire. Actually, they still are, because the letters "MO" are "66" on the dial. Even today many numerical prefixes in the 713 area code tell me where a phone number lives, because at one time, ALL Houston phone numbers were 713.

This is hardly a complete list, but here some others, with the current numeric prefixes listed first,

22 - CApital, and it was the downtown Houston area.

52 - JAckson, in the Montrose area

62 - NAtional, on the west side.

64 - MIssion, on the southeast side.

92 - WAlnut, on the east end.

46 - HOmestead, on the west side north of Buffalo Bayou and in Spring Branch

69 - OXford, on the north side.

45 - GLendale, in east Harris County in the Jacinto City Channelview area

47 - GReenwood, in Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte.

Originally, this was GRand, but it was changed to GReenwood in the mid 50s. Why?

48 - HUdson, in South Houston, and later the Clear Lake Area as NASA moved in.

This was changed to HUnter in the 1970s. Again, I ask why?

This all went the way of the Dodo bird when the population grew and they needed more phone numbers, and they decided they could no longer use numbers that conformed to the first two letters of a familiar word. So that's why we now have "numbers only" phone numbers. And as Bubba can testify, the area codes fill up so rapidly they've been forced to create more. Ah yes. Progress.

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ricco67    382

What was infuriating (to me) was when 281 was first introduced, people were SOOOOOO outraged at the possibility of dialing 10 numbers just to call their neighbors.

The city argued that the numbers could last longer if people with new phones went 281 as new service was granted. The people whined about it and they forced people outside of the beltway to be 281.

A number of years later, when 832 was introduced, all that went to hell and had to dial the 10 numbers anyway.

It was one of those instances when, even at 18 yrs old (I think) I was just yelling "get over it!" at the TV on how people simply didn't like change.

I wonder when we're going to get a new Area code since bubba is using up all the numbers. :)

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FilioScotia    112
What was infuriating (to me) was when 281 was first introduced, people were SOOOOOO outraged at the possibility of dialing 10 numbers just to call their neighbors.

The city argued that the numbers could last longer if people with new phones went 281 as new service was granted. The people whined about it and they forced people outside of the beltway to be 281.

A number of years later, when 832 was introduced, all that went to hell and had to dial the 10 numbers anyway.

It was one of those instances when, even at 18 yrs old (I think) I was just yelling "get over it!" at the TV on how people simply didn't like change.

I wonder when we're going to get a new Area code since bubba is using up all the numbers. :)

We're all Bubbas. There was a time when most of us had only one phone number. ONE!! Now, most people have several, and many have more than several. The main landline, at least one secondary landline for children, another for computer DSL hookup, and a cell phone number for every member of the family. It's not unusual for a typical family with two children to have as many as 7 or 8 phone numbers. Brave New World is here.

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Subdude    1280

The WSJ ran an article not long ago about how the number of landlines was actually starting to decrease, due to the near-demise of fax machines, popularity of VOIP, and because a lot of people, especially young people, have abandoned traditional landline service altogether.

It's hard to believe people were upset over 10-digit numbers, since you have to dial them on a mobile anyway. I like the cell phone concept where a phone number goes with a person, not a geographic location.

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As I understand it...the 2 letter prefix in an old phone number was the name of the exchange (or Central Office) that your phone service would connect through to reach the rest of the Bell system. If, for example, you had "PR" for Preston...your exchange was likely on Preston street. I am fairly sure the MO (Mohawk) is on Mohawk street in Bellaire. Most central offices are hard to spot as they are very plain buildings and they have few if any windows or signs.

As for 10 digit dialing....yes..it is a fact of the times. I believe it was 5 digits in the 50's, 6 digits in the 60's, and 7 digits in the 70's and beyond. The Bell system was constantly implimenting a "geographic" split of existing area codes to accomidate growth. This always meant that many existing...and many long established numbers, would have to change. As the 90's came, SBC decided to impliment an "overlay" pattern where multiple area codes would inhabit the same geographic territories.....your next door neighbor could be in a different area code.

One day...we may even have to go to a 15 digit numbering system...if growth continues. As seen on another website...Houston had 27,000 telephone customers in 1920. We have a few more than that now. :D

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Ashikaga    2
What was infuriating (to me) was when 281 was first introduced, people were SOOOOOO outraged at the possibility of dialing 10 numbers just to call their neighbors.

The city argued that the numbers could last longer if people with new phones went 281 as new service was granted. The people whined about it and they forced people outside of the beltway to be 281.

A number of years later, when 832 was introduced, all that went to hell and had to dial the 10 numbers anyway.

It was one of those instances when, even at 18 yrs old (I think) I was just yelling "get over it!" at the TV on how people simply didn't like change.

I wonder when we're going to get a new Area code since bubba is using up all the numbers. :)

Oh, yes. I remember when the whole state of Texas had about five area codes. 713 encompassed not just Houston, but way over here to where I live in Bridge City, as far north as Jasper, and as far west as halfway between Houston and San Antonio. In 1983 my area code changed to 409. I'm surprised that it hasn't been broken up with a new one added. But, that could happen.

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Ashikaga    2
My parents owned a house in Breckenridge, Colorado until 1994 and way back in the early 80's I remember only having to dial the 4 numbers. Every phone is the city had the prefix 453. As the town grew I assume this all changed. I just remember dialing the four digits. Interesting.

Yes, I remember a small town that my aunt and uncle lived in was the same way. If the whole town had the same prefix, you would dial only the last four numbers. I live in Bridge City, Texas. From the 1940s until the late 1980s, 735 was the only prefix. Now the town has five, but the population hasn't increased. It's the proliferation of cell phones, fax machines and pagers which has caused the number of prefixes to increase fivefold.

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rand    0
In the 1960's my dad said Houston had a unique dialing code (like a bunch of letters instead of numbers) can someone give me any more info on what that was like. I'm REALLY curious!

He found an old menu from "Juniors" and when the Astrodome opened which had these "letters" instead of numbers. I hope someone knows what I'm talking about. Its hard to explain. :-/

The letters are still there except they were replaced with numbers.

For example; 525 0000 is JA5 0000 JA is the Jackson exchange in Montrose.

862 0000 is UN2 0000 UN is the Underwood exchange in the Heights

222 0000 is CA2 0000 CA is the Capital in downtown.

The exchange buildings are still there and I think they still have their old names on them.

Hope that helps. There was also a Mowhawk exchange. Maybe google for old houston telephone exchanges.

The exchanges were and are large telephone buildings with all the switching equipment.

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