Nugget of Knowledge: Phone area codes

Daybreak

Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – How did we decide which parts of the country got which area codes? 212 is New York, but where is 213?

You would think they might be right next to each other, but, no. 213 is all the way across the country: Los Angeles.

Detroit is 313. Chicago is 312. St. Louis is 314. It’s all because of the rotary phone.

Before 1951, you needed an operator to make a long distance call for you.

But after Bell Telephone improved the phone system, we began to use area codes….they were given out with speed in mind: how long would it take you to dial the number on a rotary phone?

The larger the city, the less time it takes to dial that city’s number.

New York, 212. That’s five clicks on a rotary phone. Los Angeles at 213 and Chicago at 312 came next.

Rural America could handle more clicks. Montana is 406. That’s 20 clicks on the rotary dial. South Dakota’s 605 is 21 clicks.

The states with only one area code: Montana, South Dakota, had a zero in the middle, more than one code, a one in the middle.

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