BayouCityGirl

Houston Phone Numbers Became "numbers"

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little frau    51

My grandparents lived in Shelby County in East Texas and their phone number in the very early 50s was three digits.....545.

 

And yes, they had a plain phone with no dial.  You picked up the phone, an operator said "Number please" (Ernestine anyone?) and you told her the number you wanted to call.

 

In the later 50s, here in Houston, we had the IDlewood prefix.  I've not seen it on any of the lists shown in this topic.  We lived out off South Main & Hiram Clark when that area was just beginning to develop, in 1957-58.  Some of the subdivisions were Dumbarton Oaks, Pamela Heights (but long before neighboring Brentwood was built) and others that escape me right now. 

 

As to the FAirfax prefix, I remember that it was near the downtown area. 

 

I remember when the PR was Preston but I didn't know it was changed to Prescott and Echo apparently predates my memories.  :).

 

 

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ernie5823    9

I grew up in SE Houston, Meadowbrook (1945 to 1963) and first number I remember was OLive - 3817. Later a 4 was added after the OL. Friends that lived in the area had MIlby exchange that was later changed to MIssion. Seems like two different numbers were added to MI, but I don't remember the numbers. 

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Subdude    1285

My grandparents lived in Shelby County in East Texas and their phone number in the very early 50s was three digits.....545.

 

And yes, they had a plain phone with no dial.  You picked up the phone, an operator said "Number please" (Ernestine anyone?) and you told her the number you wanted to call.

 

In the later 50s, here in Houston, we had the IDlewood prefix.  I've not seen it on any of the lists shown in this topic.  We lived out off South Main & Hiram Clark when that area was just beginning to develop, in 1957-58.  Some of the subdivisions were Dumbarton Oaks, Pamela Heights (but long before neighboring Brentwood was built) and others that escape me right now. 

 

As to the FAirfax prefix, I remember that it was near the downtown area. 

 

I remember when the PR was Preston but I didn't know it was changed to Prescott and Echo apparently predates my memories.  :).

I picked up the Echo exchange from an old postcard referring to Houston and I was trying to track down the location.  It must be really old, since the phone number following Echo only has three digits, like your grandparents number.    

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Great thread.  I have an elderly aunt who lives in the 5th Ward and has had the same number now for over 60 years!  OR-3 prefix, later known just as 673.  I knew back in the 50's (by looking at the ads in my mother's high school yearbooks) that at that time Houston phone number were only 6 digits,  I've often wondered how her number changed when then digits were expanded to 7 numbers (since I've heard she had the same number all those years) and have found my answer in this thread, really love this site!  Apparently her number used to be OR-xxxx and was modified to OR3-xxxx as it remains today. 

 

One of my aunts lived in the East End and I recall her number starting with CA.   Another aunt lived near the Heights (Cottage Grove actually) and her number started with UN.  I understand those prefixes Capital and Underwood.  However one I don't understand is growing up (in the newely established Southwest Houston, south of South Main & Hiram Clarke) our phone number was ID3-0558 (I will never forget our first phone number, this was in the late 1960's)  I believe the ID stood for Idlywood which confuses me because I know there is an older subdivision in the East End (Lawndale/Wayside area) called Idlywood.  As "gruffbear" 'grandparents lived in Parkview (just north of where we grew up), the PA (72) prefix makes sense but again ID3 (433) still does not makes sense to me since the Hiram Clarke area is no where near the Idlywood subdivision!

Edited by EspersonBuildings

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little frau    51

I too lived off Hiram Clarke (in late 50s & early 60s) and our number was ID3 xxxx.  I also lived in Idylwood subdivision where our number was 926 xxxx. 

 

Idylwood subdivision dates back to the late 20s & early 30s. 

 

Pamela Heights dates to at least 1957 when our family moved there.  The new subdivision had only 3 streets at that time, four if you counted Melcher.  Beran was not developed through initially, there was only Ebbtide, Trail Lake and Knotty Oaks.**

 

I don't know how the prefix was established for a given area but if I had to guess, I'd say that "whomever" just searched for a two letter combination with the corresponding two numbers that were not already in use and then found a word that began with those two letters.

 

**This is off topic but want to share.  We moved to southwest Houston in 1957 yet when I looked at the HCAD record for our house, the "date built" shows 1961. 

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thanks for the reply little frau,

 

The dates HCAD list for a year a home is built is often off.  The home my parents bought in 1964 (when I was 1 year old) is listed as being built in 1962, which sounds about right because they said their home was only a year or so old.  This was in Meredith Manor/South Glen directly in front of Montgomery Elementary.  Those houses were demolished by the Harris County Flood Control District about 12 years ago.  The houses on the back side of the school (Simsbrook) my parents were told were a few years older than ours (probably built around the same time as Pamela Heights), however HCAD list them as being built in 1965. 

 

Again, off topic, if you grew up in Pamela Heights, your elementary school probably was Hobby, right?  Or could it have been Montgomery, since Montgomery was built in 1960, the first of the elementary schools in the area.  I went to Montgomery, then Dowling Junior High, then Madison High.

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little frau    51

Not even close, EspersonBuildings, ;o)) by 1960 I was long out of elementary.  Check your 'inbox' here on HAIF, up at the very top of this page.  I sent you a message.

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NenaE    116

I grew up in SE Houston, Meadowbrook (1945 to 1963) and first number I remember was OLive - 3817. Later a 4 was added after the OL. Friends that lived in the area had MIlby exchange that was later changed to MIssion. Seems like two different numbers were added to MI, but I don't remember the numbers. 

 

In Oak Meadows, in the '60's, ours was MI 3 or 713.

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samagon    2030

If anyone is interested in the history of the phone system (more focused on the hacking of it by phone phreaks) there's a great book called Exploding the Phone. It's mainly about how the system evolved as a response to hackers, but it has a lot of really cool info on how the system was built.

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Dwight    0

I moved to Houston about 1951 when my dad went to U of H.  We lived first in a Military trailer and then in the Military style barracks set up for Korean war vets.   I remember that the Alphabetical exchanges were set up for each part of town.  Downtown Main St was CAPITOL, off Main businesses were CENTRAL.   Bellaire people Were MOHAWK, and when we moved to the Heights We were UNDERWOOD,  I just looked up a old directory and found about 36  Exchange names.  You used the first two (2) letters of the Exchange Name and then a third number followed by four (4) numbers.   For instance   UN2 5759 would be an Underwood number in the 713 Area exchange.  My friends in Bellaire were always 666 exchange numbers or part of the MOHAWK exchange.    Back then going into another city one could tell where people were logistically situated by their Exchanges.

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jbird    1

in Bellaire we were MAdison exchange...Mom had same rotary dial phone from 1949-1985 (& paid the monthly fee all those years)

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Does anyone remember the River Oaks exchange?  My grandmother was genteelly impoverished.  She lived on the wrong side of Kirby (on Ferndale) but in a spot where her phone exchange would still be the River Oaks one.  This was deathly important to her.

Edited by Sisters_Golfskirt

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NenaE    116

I can remember thinking how strange it seemed, when the 281 phone numbers were introduced. Don't have a clue what year that was. 

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UtterlyUrban    1403
3 hours ago, NenaE said:

I can remember thinking how strange it seemed, when the 281 phone numbers were introduced. Don't have a clue what year that was. 

Mid-1990s.

 

 

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6thgentxn    2

I am wondering when the phone number went from six to seven  places in Houston.

I have a pic of a family homes for sale sign with the number MU-0216

I am guessing 1948 in Oak Forest, but am looking for verification.

Any help out there?

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6thgentxn    2

My Grandparents lived in the Woodland Heights 67 years.

In those years from the late 1920s they had the same 4 last phone numbers.

First ##41, then T##41, then UNderwood ##41, and lastly 861-##41.

 

Papa also reserved (They set it aside for him) his address number for his license plate number

many years with the help of the service counter folks at the grocery store.

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