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Old FW Telephone Number Prefixes


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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 08:42 PM

Some of you may remember the days when telephone numbers began with two letters. I think this died out by the end of the 1960s. Wedgwood (southwest side of Fort Worth) had a lot of telephone numbers that began with AX2-. When the alphabetizing died out, their associated numbers simply took over with little trouble, and so AX2- numbers simply became 292-. I recall an outdoor nursery near Wedgmont Circle and Old Grandbury Road had this green triangular sign on a signpost that still held their AX2- phone number until at least the late '70s.

The alphabetizing of telephone numbers was widespread across the country, and even in a city the size of Fort Worth, there were bound to be different exchanges. To help jog people's memories, these exchanges were (I think) named after some local landmark.

Anyhow, what I'm asking is, does anyone know the mnemonic for "AX"? In other words, was it short for AXelrod, AXis, AXle, or what? And how many other such telephone number prefixes and mnemonics were in use around Fort Worth?

(Aside: Our family doctor, C. B. Bruner, who recently retired, set up his practice on South Hulen, very close to Old Grandbury Road, in the early 1960s when there was practically nothing else out there. He had an ariel photograph of that part of town back then hanging on the wall of his office for years. It was a freaking PRAIRIE! Dr. Bruner's office number was very easy to remember, especially if you were sick or injured: 292-5000. Years later he told my father that he was able to get that particular phone number because way back in the day, one of his patients was a big shot at the telephone company and got that number for him.)

GOodbye!



#2 bailey

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:04 PM

Here is the answer for Wedgwood area and some other parts of Fort Worth.

Wedgwood was AX or 29 and the word was Axminister, dowtown was ED or 33 and the word was Edison, Ridglea was PE or 73 and the word was Pershing, southside area was WA or 92 and the word was Walnut.

#3 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 12:54 AM

Thanks for this topic. I've been wondering about my section of town, off and on, for years. I knew only the same exchanges that Bailey knew, except that I thought Wedgewood was AXel. I think they got pretty generic in the last decade of naming exchanges, like WAlnut and AXminster or AXel, but EDison; the earliest exchange, commemorated the inventor of the phone, and PErshing was named when there was a WWI military camp called Camp Bowie--for General Black Jack Pershing.
Can someone explain my exchange? It's the Handley Meadowbrook 45.


#4 cajunmike

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

Haltom City numbers started with 83*-**** and that was for Terminal, I had worked on the Eastside of Fort Worth and the 535 exchange was for Jefferson. Seems like not many years ago we just dialing the 7 digits until we grew so large that the area code is required. On my business travels to some cities (smaller) you still just dial 7 digits.

Back in the mid 70's we lived outside of Fort Worth in the country for a very short time and were on a party line. Was not much of a party!, somebody was always on the phone.
Mike

#5 Dismuke

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:57 AM

QUOTE (Birdland in Handley @ Apr 27 2008, 01:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
but EDison; the earliest exchange, commemorated the inventor of the phone


Actually, it was Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone. Edison didn't need to - he was too busy inventing all sorts of other stuff, including the electric light, electrical generating systems, the phonograph, motion pictures and a whole lot more.

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#6 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 01:15 AM

Good catch, Dismuke. Thanx.
Everybody, please consider my last post in the same vein as you would the old Firesign Theater's "Everything You Know is Wrong." That is to say, wrong. Yet I would still like to know what words the 45x-prefix-exchange stood for.

#7 Dismuke

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 06:32 AM

As recently as the early 1990s, the Fort Worth white pages still showed a map of the old exchanges and their names though the use of the letter abbreviations in phone numbers had long since been discontinued. The map showed where the various exchanges were and listed the phone prefixes within them. At that time, phone prefixes were still geographically based. By the end of the 1990s, that was starting to come to an end. I am not sure if today they still assign phone numbers by default based on exchange when one signs up for plain old fashioned telephone service, but there is nothing to stop on from now having a phone number that in previous years would only have been possible to have on the other side of town. And, of course, it is getting to the point that area codes are almost meaningless anymore, at least when it comes to cell phones.

I read somewhere that the old Bell System monopoly decided in the late 1960s to get rid of the exchange letters after studies showed that it was easier for people to remember number combinations rather than letter/number combinations - though in some locations people still continued to refer to the letters into the 1970s.

Might be kind of fun to give out one's phone number using the old system. "My phone number? Sure, that's PErshing 1- XXXX." One would at least get some funny looks.
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#8 cbellomy

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:21 AM

This subject has come up in the FW Forum before... if I weren't still slightly sick I'd google it up. I don't remember what the 45 mnemonic was, but we have omitted MArket for 62x-xxxx.


#9 Phil Phillips

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:10 PM

45 was GL for Glendale. 27 was CR for Crestview in Arlington.

#10 Saginaw

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:56 PM

I think I might have something to add to this thread.

I was at the Fort Worth Public Library on Tuesday, doing some research via old Star-Telegram newspapers that have been transferred onto film reels. On one of the reels (June 1968), I happened to have found an old advertisement for White's Furniture Stores (remember them?), dated June 2, 1968. At that time, there were eight locations in Fort Worth and the suburbs, and they're as follows:

One in Hurst (W. Pipeline Rd.) with a BU prefix
Two in Fort Worth (one on S. Riverside Dr. and one on W. Berry St.) with WA prefixes
One in River Oaks (River Oaks Blvd.) with an MA prefix
One in Arlington (E. Abram St.) with a CR prefix
One in west Fort Worth (Sunset Dr.) with a PE prefix
One in east Fort Worth (E. Lancaster Ave.) with a JE prefix
One in Haltom City (Denton Hwy.) with a TE prefix

Dismuke, I believe you're jogging my memory from your last post. I seem to remember that when the White and Yellow Pages were a single book, there was definitely a map of telephone exchanges. I just might have to make another trip to the good ol' library again soon!


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#11 Buck

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:42 AM

BU=BUtler, for the mid-cities

AT=ATlas, the same numbers but in Euless

CI=CIrcle, for white settlement

MA=MArket, the north side

TE=TErminal, Riverside

People already covered PErshing, EDison, JEfferson, WAlnut, AXminister, GLendale, CRestview

Dallas' downtown exchange was RIverside.



#12 Saginaw

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:57 PM

Hey, folks! I have some more info on old telephone exchanges in Fort Worth, courtesy of the White Pages, circa 1965.

There's a chart illustrating the local exchanges that consists of a disk surrounded by two concentric circles, all connected by stubby black arrows (representing "free" exchanges within the system). The disk (or hub) represents the "Central Area" and lists the eight main exchanges that we've already covered: AT, ED, GL, JE, MA, PE, TE, and WA. The first concentric circle from the hub contains the AX, BU, CI, and CR exchanges mentioned before, but there is another exchange that we've apparently missed, and that is CEdar (as in CE2-xxxx and CE7-xxxx). Unfortunately, I have no idea where CE would have been used, so maybe someone here may know.

The last concentric circle is shown as broken, that is, missing some areas (perhaps representing the more rural or unincorporated areas of the county?), and contains the AX, CE, and CI exchanges, but, again, the White Pages fills us in on four exchanges that we've missed, and they're as follows:

BElmont (as in BE4-xxxx and BE8-xxxx)
BRidge (as in BR3-xxxx)
BYron (as in BY4-xxxx and BY6-xxxx)
CApitol (as in CA2-xxxx, CA3-xxxx, and CA6-xxxx)

That, ladies and gentlemen, completes (as far as is known) the exchanges in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, at least in 1965. And as an extra, it would seem that Fort Worth began using 7-number exchanges in 1956. This information is also courtesy of the good ol' White and Yellow Pages from that particular year.


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#13 JOCOguy

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:50 PM

The Northside had MArket also (62)
The west side had CIrcle including CI6 for White Settlement, CI4 for Western Hills/Chapin Road, and CI9 for Benbrook.
From what I understand it was named for the circle that used to be at the intersection of HWY 80 (Bankhead Hwy.) and Alta Mere, where Grandy's is. It was called the Weatherford Traffic Circle. The existing traffic circle was built in the late 1950s.
It is actually the Benbrook T.C., at least it used to be. Built as the terminus of the old Loop 217.

Here in Kansas City I work for a local telephone company. We have a network screen that identifies the old excahnges by their old names. Only those that had an alpha numeric original NPA/NXX.

Almost every city had a PLaza or RIverside etc. Before area codes, which gave us direct dialing, most calls went through an operator. The operator used the city call area and state to identify the actual prefix.

That happened around 1958

#14 Buck

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 08:10 PM

Yep -- forget CEdar for Lake Worth/Azle.


#15 Ghost Writer in Disguise

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:21 PM

QUOTE (JOCOguy @ May 15 2008, 06:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The existing traffic circle was built in the late 1950s.
It is actually the Benbrook T.C., at least it used to be. Built as the terminus of the old Loop 217.

As far as I'm concerned it still is. I just want to plotz whenever I hear some ninnyhammer call it the "Weatherford circle."

#16 cbellomy

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 12:33 AM

JOCOguy, I assume you have access to some form of LERG. Do you have access to street addresses of the COs? I've been trying mightily to find the Terminal CO, as I'm curious whether the Oakhurst neighborhood is likely to be well lit for DSL service. (Long story.) Can you look that sort of info up?


#17 austlar

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:11 AM

Back in the 1950's, prior to the 7 digit numbers, there were several smaller exchanges. Some that I can remember were WIlson(which became WAlnut 4), WEbster(WAlnut 3), and WAyside (WAlnut9). These exchanges served the Forest Park, TCU, and Westcliff areas. Downtown had EDison and FAnnin and probably some other ones as well. PErshing was a 6 digit exchange that survived after west side exchanges were consolidated. MArket was on the north side. The 7 digit number came in the late 50's. It was seen as a sign that FW was becoming big time. Prior to that only the largest cities in the country had 7 digit numbers! Area codes came a few years later, along with direct dialing of long distance calls.

#18 Dismuke

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 10:06 AM

QUOTE (austlar @ May 29 2008, 04:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Back in the 1950's, prior to the 7 digit numbers, there were several smaller exchanges. Some that I can remember were WIlson(which became WAlnut 4), WEbster(WAlnut 3), and WAyside (WAlnut9). These exchanges served the Forest Park, TCU, and Westcliff areas. Downtown had EDison and FAnnin and probably some other ones as well. PErshing was a 6 digit exchange that survived after west side exchanges were consolidated. MArket was on the north side. The 7 digit number came in the late 50's. It was seen as a sign that FW was becoming big time. Prior to that only the largest cities in the country had 7 digit numbers! Area codes came a few years later, along with direct dialing of long distance calls.



That is very interesting - a lot of information I was not aware of.

I have a question you might know the answer to: I have an old Texas Wesleyan College yearbook 1944 that I picked up somewhere a while back. Many of the businesses listed provide phone numbers. But I do not see the exchanges mentioned on any of them. For example, R.H. Brewer Wholes Poultry and Eggs on 408 W. Weatherford had a phone number of 2-1412 For a while I assumed that those were simply numbers that people dialed when they were calling from within a given exchange. But then I noticed that the businesses advertised were located in various parts of town - not just in the Poly area where the school's campus was located. I have noticed that phone numbers 5-XXXX were located in the Poly area. Downtown and parts of the Southside are 2-XXXX.

I know that the old exchanges were actually used because I have seen them mentioned elsewhere and enough people here mention them as well. But I am not sure how they fit in with the phone numbers listed in the yearbook. Was it that the single digit prefix coincided with the letters of an exchange and, later on, when they sent from 5 digits to 6 digits they included the other letter in the prefix and then started to use the alphabetical abbreviation in the phone numbers?

By the way, one business name in the yearbook I recognize as being still in business is Gordon Boswell Flowers - 1220 Pennsylvania Avenue, Phone 2-2265 A quick google search indicates that both are still the same - only the phone number has added a few digits to now be (817) 332-2265

I wonder what the oldest phone number still in continuous use in Fort Worth is.
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#19 austlar

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 02:49 AM

I have a very dim recollection of the single digit prefix, or perhaps I just remember seeing them in print when I was very young. I know that the first phone number I remember was at my parents' house circa 1951 or so. It was WIlson 7375. I am guessing the single digit prefix disappeared in the mid to late 1940's.

#20 cowtownnative

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:47 AM

QUOTE (Giraffe @ Apr 26 2008, 09:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some of you may remember the days when telephone numbers began with two letters. I think this died out by the end of the 1960s. Wedgwood (southwest side of Fort Worth) had a lot of telephone numbers that began with AX2-. When the alphabetizing died out, their associated numbers simply took over with little trouble, and so AX2- numbers simply became 292-. I recall an outdoor nursery near Wedgmont Circle and Old Grandbury Road had this green triangular sign on a signpost that still held their AX2- phone number until at least the late '70s.

The alphabetizing of telephone numbers was widespread across the country, and even in a city the size of Fort Worth, there were bound to be different exchanges. To help jog people's memories, these exchanges were (I think) named after some local landmark.

Anyhow, what I'm asking is, does anyone know the mnemonic for "AX"? In other words, was it short for AXelrod, AXis, AXle, or what? And how many other such telephone number prefixes and mnemonics were in use around Fort Worth?

(Aside: Our family doctor, C. B. Bruner, who recently retired, set up his practice on South Hulen, very close to Old Grandbury Road, in the early 1960s when there was practically nothing else out there. He had an ariel photograph of that part of town back then hanging on the wall of his office for years. It was a freaking PRAIRIE! Dr. Bruner's office number was very easy to remember, especially if you were sick or injured: 292-5000. Years later he told my father that he was able to get that particular phone number because way back in the day, one of his patients was a big shot at the telephone company and got that number for him.)

GOodbye!

I remember two of the phone exchanges from when I was a kid. One was our exchange WA which stood for Walnut and another side of town was PE which stood for Pershing. I think the AX stood for Axis.

#21 cowtownnative

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (bailey @ Apr 26 2008, 10:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here is the answer for Wedgwood area and some other parts of Fort Worth.

Wedgwood was AX or 29 and the word was Axminister, dowtown was ED or 33 and the word was Edison, Ridglea was PE or 73 and the word was Pershing, southside area was WA or 92 and the word was Walnut.

You are exactly correct. Thanks for jogging my memory. I remember the ED now because most of the businesses, phone, electric, water, etc, was an ED exchange. My brother still live on the south side of Fort Worth and has a 92 exchange.

#22 Owen

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 10:27 AM

What did AX stand for. I remember PErshing and FAnin. Indeed, I remember that our first telephone number was a 5-digit one, 7-6206, and we had a private line (paid extra for it). Sometime just after WWII, exchanges were introduced; and these were converted to all-numeric in the early 60s. Long-distance area codes came in ca. 1967. Only recently has telephone central switching equipment become sophisticated enough to handle long, random sequences of numbers.

#23 JOCOguy

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE (Owen @ Oct 29 2008, 11:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What did AX stand for. I remember PErshing and FAnin. Indeed, I remember that our first telephone number was a 5-digit one, 7-6206, and we had a private line (paid extra for it). Sometime just after WWII, exchanges were introduced; and these were converted to all-numeric in the early 60s. Long-distance area codes came in ca. 1967. Only recently has telephone central switching equipment become sophisticated enough to handle long, random sequences of numbers.


AX = AXminister, if I remember correctly

#24 pallen

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 04:08 PM

Interesting thread. I remember my Grandmother always gave her phone number starting with TE4...

#25 BillyG

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Posted 02 November 2008 - 01:54 AM

QUOTE (pallen @ Oct 29 2008, 04:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting thread. I remember my Grandmother always gave her phone number starting with TE4...



When I was young (i'm 46) I remember referring to our home telephone number as TE8-xxxx. I also remember getting phone numbers with people saying things like "Edison6-xxxx". I coudnt understand it when it changed lol. It was a lot easier to figure out where someone lived by there phone number.. and we didnt have google.

#26 waywr

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 02:25 PM

That's interesting. Never knew those letters stood for anything. Always thought they were just the first two letters on the number pad, or rotary dial hole of a phone. But, thinking about it, guess ED wouldn't make much sense as the 3 key has DEF on it.
But I do remember, when I was little, hearing grown ups say WA3-XXXX or ED6-XXXX when giving their phone number to someone. Don't remember ever hearing that past the late 60s/early 70s though.

#27 Owen

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 03:52 PM

When I was a kid, up till ca. 1956, our phone number went as PErshing X-XXXX. Subsequently, with the addition of more and more two-number combos at the beginning of the local number, letter prefixes were dropped.

#28 cbellomy

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE (Owen @ Jan 4 2010, 03:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When I was a kid, up till ca. 1956, our phone number went as PErshing X-XXXX.


Geez, it must have taken all day to dial all those 9's for the X's. tongue.gif

#29 Arnold Ziffel

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:51 PM

The office name for Wedgewood is indeed Axminster, but if you call over there doing work as an employee, the person answering the phone at the frame will answer it "Wedgewood." Each office also has a wire center number used by field dispatch..

#30 lcbrownz

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 03:57 PM

I have a photograph of a 1950s menu from the Camp Bowie restaurant and it's telephone number was SUnset 7686



#31 OfficerWoody

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 12:51 PM

lcbrownz:

 

You are correct.  When we moved from Ballinger Street to Ridglea Hills in 1952, our number was SU-XXXX.  It subsequently became PE8-XXXX.






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