Philadelphia metropolitan region information

Before the start of direct long-distance dialing, the drawing of lines between groups of exchanges was somewhat arbitrary. Even after dial phones became common, of course, the dialing areas of particular groups of subscribers overlapped and would change from time to time. On this site, I have arbitrarily decided to include as "metropolitan Philadelphia" all exchanges that were assigned the 215 area code when area codes were instituted. All the exchanges in this section were, during the period in question, in the 215 area, though subsequently a division into 215 and 610 took place. (Subsequently, additional area codes were established, but by overlaying, so that none of the exchanges listed in the "metropolitan Philadelphia" pages on this site went into any area other than 215 and 610.)

Unlike many other cities, in Philadelphia and the rest of the 215 area, even after the start of All-Number Calling many exchanges were assigned to the same area that had others beginning with the same two digits, so that they could be thought of (and apparently were thought of) as within the same exchange name as existing exchanges with the same first two digits. These "unofficial" names are given here, with a note to indicate that they were not official. (In fact, some of these names may have been official; this is not totally certain.)

For the purposes of this site, the region is divided into three areas:

  1. The city of Philadelphia,
  2. An inner suburban area which is defined as the portion of the 215 area code that was dialable directly from the city without any code, and
  3. An outer area, including some outer suburban areas dialed as long distance and some completely rural areas also included within the 215 area code.

To help with the location of numeric prefixes, a table is provided which gives, for all 3-digit prefixes, the name of the exchange and the specific area (of the three mentioned) in which it belongs.

The subsequent 215/610 division does not coincide with the inner/outer division used on this site, but since this happened long after the end of the use of exchange names, this division seems the most relevant for the site.

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Last modified February 19, 2015.

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