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July 5th, 2006


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08:01 pm - GArrison 7-7600
10 new pictures uploaded today. I think I'm proudest of this find:

GArrison 7-7600

I like it because it's a sign on a building that tons of people go by each day (it's between Summer and Congress Streets in Boston) yet they probably don't notice it at all. I also like it because it includes a reference to Boston Edison, which don't exist no more, and a telephone number using the old telephone exchange name system. That really dates the darn thing.

I found a list of Boston telephone exchanges, which I'll paste below the cut, and it seems that a number with the GArrison exchange would have been located in Roxbury. It's also interesting -- to somebody, at least, just probably not you -- it's interesting to note that while this list uses the first three digits in their naming convention (and capitalizes all three letters), most folks were content to just capitalize the first two letters in their exchange name when writing their phone number.

The Boston, Massachusetts telephone directory, dated
December 1946, has a box on page 3 with a map and this
text:

"COMMUNITIES AND CENTRAL OFFICES

"This directory serves the Metropolitan Boston
exchanges and the Burlington exchange as indicated on
the map below. Central office names different from
exchange or principal community names are listed
separately at the right of this page. Exchange
boundaries as indicated on the map do not always match
municipal lines.

"ALGonquin - Brighton
ALLston - Brighton
ARNold - Jamaica Plain
ASPinwall - Brookline
AVEnue - Dorchester
BAYside - Dorchester
BEAcon - Brookline
BIGelow - Newton
BLUehills - Milton
BOWdoin - Boston
CAPitol - Boston
CIRcle - Boston
CITy Point - South Boston
COLumbia - Dorchester
COMmonwealth - Boston
COPley - Boston
CRYstal - Wakefield
CUNningham - Milton
DECatur - Newton
DEVonshire - Boston
ELIot - Cambridge
ENDicott - Jamaica Plain
GARrison - Roxbury
GENeva - Dorchester
GRAnite - Quincy
HANcock - Boston
HIGhlands - Roxbury
HUBbard - Boston
HUMboldt - Roxbury
JEFferson - Dorchester
KENmore - Boston
KIRkland - Cambridge
LAFayette - Boston
LASell - Newton
LIBerty - Boston
LONgwood - Brookline
MAYflower - Quincy
MYStic - Medford
OCEan - Winthrop
PARkway - Roslindale & West Roxbury
PERkins - Watertown
PORter - Cambridge
PREsident - Quincy
PROspect - Somerville
RIChmond - Boston
RUGgles - Roxbury
SHErwin - Boston
SOMerset - Somerville
STAdium - Allston & Brighton
TALbot - Dorchester
TROwbridge - Cambridge
UNIversity - Cambridge"

Frankly I don't see why Somerville got stuck with "SOmerset" when it sounds too much like "SOmerville". They probably couldn't use "SOmerville" as the exchange name since no other city got to use their own name for one, and it'd be confusing anyhow. Maybe CAmbridgejunior was already taken or something.

And once again, due to an overabundance of ones and zeroes in my phone number, I am unable to make neither words nor a decent exchange name out of mine. Curse you, Virgin Mobile!

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kpht
Date:July 6th, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
(Link)
my grandfather has springfield phone books that go back to the early 50's (and one from 1938). i should convince him to let me open them to see what the exchanges were about.

that's fucking kickass, though. i love that shit.
[User Picture]
From:surrealestate
Date:July 6th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
(Link)
Does it really say "dEsptcher"? You should photoshop that R into an L. :)
From:lno
Date:July 6th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
(Link)
I was sort of surprised that no mention was made of 'despatcher' in the post.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:July 6th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
(Link)
When the exchange system was first introduced, a phone number would be something like PENnsylvania 5000. As the number of phones grew, the phone companies ran out of usable exchanges, and began subdividing the existing ones into 9 segments -- so that phone number became PEnnsyvania 6-5000, and newer folks got assigned PE 1-, PE 2-, etc. numbers.
[User Picture]
From:violacat
Date:July 6th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks Ron, now I have "Pennsylvania 6-5000" in my head.

PENNSYLVANIA SIX-FIVE-OH-OH-OH
[User Picture]
From:ceo
Date:July 6th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
PEnnsylvania 6-5000 was the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania, which is still there and still has that phone number (has had it since 1919, according to their website).
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:July 6th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Although for a few years in the 1980s, they unwisely changed their name to "Hotel Penta". I see enough negative reviews online that I'm wary of actually staying there.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:July 6th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
It's kind of like between Finagle and Summer. On the back of the building on Summer Street there.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:July 6th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
Also, in my memory, Somerville had a Somerset Savings Bank. Until the late 1980s, it was in the cool art-deco building at Summer Street and Cutter Ave (where Winter Hill Bank and the Dilboy VFW are now). Then Somerset built themselves a brand-new office building on Elm Street. Then USTrust bought them, then Citizens Bank bought USTrust.

The large electric substation across the parkway from Fresh Pond 'Mall' also has those Boston Edison signs with ancient phone numbers. I'll try to write the number down the next time I'm there. This substation replaced a drive-in movie theatre.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:July 6th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
(Link)
Malden was MALden, though.
[User Picture]
From:limax
Date:July 6th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
(Link)
The only exchange that we had for Livermore for the longest time was HIlltop 7. I think Pleaseanton's was VIctor 6, or something similar to that. (Yes, I know... not Boston, wrong coast, wasting time... )
[User Picture]
From:reveritas
Date:July 7th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
(Link)
no! not for me! :) i've been looking for the SF ones. any clues? this stuff is fascinating to me.
[User Picture]
From:ooshiny
Date:July 6th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
Webster City's was TEmple-2. I wonder why they couldn't have used, like, TEAbag instead. And Virgin Mobile gave me a crappy number full of ones and zeroes, too. My aunt's phone number, on the other hand, is 967-DIRT. My cousin told me that when we were about 8. Awesome.

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