Hats off to Evelyn Sheinkopf for her interesting article on old Los Angeles telephone exchanges (“Know the Code,” So SoCal, Nov. 10).
As I remember the ‘40s prefixes, ours was DRexel. As in the rest of the L.A. area, only four numbers followed the two letters. Other exchanges of that era were FItzroy, FEderal, YOrk and STate, to name a few.
After World War II, I recall, DRexel, FItzroy, FEderal and, no doubt, some others were changed to DUnkirk followed by a five-digit number. Existing prefixes that made the cut, so to speak, were MUtual, MAdison, TRemont, TRiangle, WEbster and BRadshaw.
We’re lucky that someone invented the touch-tone system, or we’d all be walking around with blunted fingers from all the numbers we’d have to dial.
Maybe 55 years from now, today’s youngsters will be reminiscing about how, in 1996, an e-mail number like firstname.lastname@example.org was so simple to remember and use, compared to the numbers in the year 2051.
Editor’s note: Many readers wrote in with their memories of L.A.'s early telephone exchanges. Here are some of them.
Having been born and raised in Santa Monica when those prefixes were in existence, I can assure you that the exchange for Santa Monica was not EXmont but EXbrook.
Peggy A. Mayhew
The prefix MAdison was for the Civic Center, while STate was for Van Nuys. I still associate RIchmond 9 with television advertising for automobile dealerships along Figueroa Boulevard and with desert land sales.
After a few moments of reflection, I recalled such Los Angeles exchanges as ATwater, CApitol, CUmberland, CItrus, FEderal, FItzroy, LOgan, PLymouth, WAlnut, WHitney, WYoming and YOrk.
In Hollywood there was HUdson. The West L.A. and Malibu areas had ARizona, GLadstone, TExas and VErmont. And we shouldn’t forget Pasadena with HIllcrest and SYcamore.
Finally, the San Fernando Valley had DIckens, EMpire, STate and SUnset.
W. J. Glick
I enjoyed your recollection of the old alphanumeric codes used for telephone exchanges; however, I did notice one error. Several beach communities, including Malibu, were assigned the GLadstone exchange, not GLobe, as was stated in your article. In fact, one well-known restaurant in Pacific Palisades has the first personalized telephone number of which I was aware: GLadstone-4 FISH.
Thanks for the memory.
Karen L. Hunter
Our prefix in Fullerton in the ‘50s was LAmbert.
We who lived in the San Fernando Valley had our STate (Van Nuys and the central Valley), POplar (North Hollywood and the eastern Valley), TRiangle (a straddle prefix between the eastern Valley and Los Angeles) and EMpire (what was probably the exchange of the biggest area in the Valley--most of the northern and western sections--with a name to match).
Robert (AXminster) Peppermuller