Exchange names in New York City from 1880 to 1920

(alphabetic listing)



This listing contains the names of telephone exchanges prior to the 1920 start of dial service in New York City. It should be noted that the area covered by this page is the post-1898 city of New York, while prior to 1898, Brooklyn was a separate city, and there were numerous other towns and villages in what became the boroughs of Queens and Richmond. The actual directories in the 1880s and 1890s grouped listings quite differently, with Manhattan (then considered New York City) listed in one section (Harlem listed, as if it were a separate city in the same part of the directory, but after "New York City" until March 1, 1886, when it was merged as one exchange among many) and all the exchanges in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and numerous communities on Long Island and in New Jersey constituting a separate section. In that section, a separate listing was made for each community, even if it might have only a dozen subscribers. In general, the "exchange name" in each community was the community name, which thus was listed at the head of the list of subscribers in that community as well as after each subscriber's name as the exchange name. (An exception obtained in the largest of these communities, Brooklyn. While there was one listing, headed "Brooklyn, L. I.," there were, after October 1881, more than one exchange in this listing, though "Brooklyn" remained as one of them. So actual exchange names other than the community name in the header appeared in the Brooklyn listing.)

A listing in the column headed "Former exchange" is given when an exchange was renamed at some point. In those cases, numbers were not changed but the exchange name was changed for some reason. The specific reason will usually be ascertainable by consulting the appropriate Note below the table. If the word "(New)" is found there, the exchange was established as a new exchange at the time indicated, usually taking some of the subscribers from one or more pre-existing exchange(s), but with the pre-existing exchange(s) continuing to exist. If the word "Unknown" is found, more research remains to be done to establish the history of this exchange.

The column headed "Start date" in this table gives the date of the first directory containing this exchange name, if that date is not covered in the chronology charts. If it is within the period, an inter-directory period, such as "Early 1913," linked to the charts, is given. If this date is shown as "December 15, 1880," the actual exchange (in the sense of the switchboard and associated equipment) existed prior to that date, but the name was first used in the directory of that date, the first in which exchange names and line numbers were used in New York City. (The listings for some communities, primarily in New Jersey, contained them earlier; the listings for Newark, N. J. as early as July 1, 1880. But the exchange names and line numbers did not appear for New York City listings before that date.)

Under the heading "Subsequent exchange" the exact disposition is indicated as well, where known.

The column headed "End date" in this table gives the date of the first directory in which the exchange name did not appear, if that date is not covered in the chronology charts. If it is within the period, an inter-directory period, such as "Early 1913," linked to the charts, is given. If this date is shown as "November 17, 1920," the exchange actually continued past that date into the dial era, and this indication is not truly the end of the exchange in question. (The exchange could have itself remained manual, but it would have been shown in subsequent directories in dialable format, e. g., "SPRing" rather than "Spring.")

It should be noted that after the early 1880s, the Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph Co. directories ceased to have a listing of exchange names at the front. Therefore it is necessary to deduce the start and end dates by examining individual subscriber listings. It would not surprise me to find that an exchange name I did not spot in a particular directory was, in fact, used in that directory. So for dates after the early 1880s, it must be understood that start dates might be earlier, and end dates later, than listed here.

Toward the latter part of the pre-dial era, beginning with the October 11, 1911 issue, listings of the exchanges resumed, and in fact after October 1912 there were two tables in each directory: one, which will be designated the B list in conformity with terminology used elsewhere on this site, listing business offices with the exchanges served by each office, and another, which will be designated the Z list in conformity with terminology used elsewhere on this site, listing all exchanges in alphabetical order with the borough in which the exchange was found and a number indicating the zone for billing purposes. For exchanges started or ended in this perion, therefore, precise dates are again given, though where the two lists differ, this will be noted. (It should be noted, however, that the B lists showed three exchanges, Cedarhurst, Floral Park, and Woodmere (Cedarhurst only before May 8, 1913 and Woodmere from that date onward, replacing it), which were served from Queens business offices but were located in Nassau County. These are not included in the table below, but are instead shown in the Western Long Island lists.)



(See Note 11)
Name Former exchange Start date Subsequent exchange End date
Academy (New) Late 1915 Reformatted to ACAdemy November 17, 1920
Arrochar Unknown Unknown (See Note 1) September 1, 1904
Arrochar Park Unknown Merged into Tompkinsville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Arverne Unknown Merged into Hammels February 1, 1908
Astoria Unknown Reformatted to ASToria November 17, 1920
Audubon High Bridge May 10, 1905 (See Note 3) Reformatted to AUDubon November 17, 1920
Barclay (New) Mid-1908 Reformatted to BARclay November 17, 1920
Bath Beach Unknown Renamed to Bensonhurst Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Bay Ridge Unknown Renamed to Shore Road 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Bayside (See Note 5) Unknown Mostly merged into Flushing Early 1908 (See Note 6)
(New) Early 1913 Reformatted to BAYside November 17, 1920
Bedford Unknown Renamed to Lafayette Early 1920 (See Note 4)
Beekman (New) February 1, 1906 Reformatted to BEEkman November 17, 1920
Belle Harbor Hammels 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to BELle Harbor November 17, 1920
Bensonhurst Bath Beach Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to BENsonhurst November 17, 1920
Blythebourne Borough Park Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to BLYthebourne November 17, 1920
Bogardus Corner Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Borough Park Unknown See the Irregular Changes Table September 1, 1904
(New) Mid-1911 Renamed to Blythebourne Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Boulevard Forest Hills 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to BOUlevard November 17, 1920
Bowling Green (New) Late 1916 Reformatted to BOWling Green November 17, 1920
Broad Unknown Reformatted to BROad November 17, 1920
Brooklyn (New) December 15, 1880 Mostly renamed (See Note 8) to Main March 1, 1899
Bryant (New) (See Note 9) October 10, 1905 Reformatted to BRYant November 17, 1920
Bulls Head Unknown Merged into West Brighton September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Bushwick Unknown Reformatted to BUShwick November 17, 1920
Butcherville Unknown Merged into West Brighton September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Canal (New) Mid-1915 (See Note 10) Reformatted to CANal November 17, 1920
Canarsie Unknown Merged into East New York September 1, 1904
(New) Mid-1911 Renamed to Skidmore 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Cathedral Unknown Reformatted to CAThedral November 17, 1920
Chelsea (New) December 1, 1903 Reformatted to CHElsea November 17, 1920
Circle (New) 1914-1915 Reformatted to CIRcle November 17, 1920
City Island Unknown Reformatted to CITy Island November 17, 1920
College Point Unknown Merged into Flushing Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Columbus Unknown Reformatted to COLumbus November 17, 1920
Coney Island Unknown Reformatted to CONey Island November 17, 1920
Sea Gate February 1, 1908
Cortlandt John July 1, 1890 Reformatted to CORtlandt November 17, 1920
Murray July 1, 1890
Nassau July 1, 1890
New July 1, 1890
Pearl July 1, 1890
Creedmoor Unknown Merged into Jamaica September 1, 1904
Cypress (New) Mid-1911 Reformatted to CYPress November 17, 1920
Decatur (New) 1914-1915 Reformatted to DECatur November 17, 1920
Dongan Hills New Dorp Early 1920 (See Note 7) Continued to Dongan Hills November 17, 1920
Douglaston Unknown Transferred to Flushing February 1, 1908
Dry Dock (New) 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to DRY Dock November 17, 1920
East New York Unknown Renamed to Glenmore Early 1920 (See Note 4)
Eltingville Unknown Merged into New Dorp September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Evergreen (New) Mid-1915 Reformatted to EVErgreen November 17, 1920
Farragut (New) 1914-1915 Renamed to Watkins Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Far Rockaway Unknown Reformatted to FAR Rockaway November 17, 1920
FitzRoy (New) Early 1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to FITzRoy November 17, 1920
Flatbush Unknown Reformatted to FLAtbush November 17, 1920
Flushing Unknown Reformatted to FLUshing November 17, 1920
Bay Side Early 1908 (See Note 6)
College Point Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Little Neck Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Whitestone Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Whitestone Landing Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Fordham (New) 1914-1915 Reformatted to FORdham November 17, 1920
Forest Hills (New) Late 1911 (See Note 12) Renamed to Boulevard 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Forsyth (New) Mid-1916 Renamed to Dry Dock 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Fort Totten Unknown Merged into Flushing September 1, 1904
Foster's Meadow Unknown Merged into Jamaica (See Note 13) September 1, 1904
Franklin Unknown Reformatted to FRAnklin November 17, 1920
Giffords Unknown Merged into New Dorp September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Glenmore East New York Early 1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to GLEnmore November 17, 1920
Gramercy 18th December 1, 1903 Reformatted to GRAmercy November 17, 1920
Graniteville Unknown Merged into West Brighton September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Gravesend Unknown Transferred to Coney Island September 1, 1904
Greeley Unknown Renamed to FitzRoy Early 1920 (See Note 4)
Greenpoint Unknown Reformatted to GREenpoint November 17, 1920
GreenRidge Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
H Unknown Merged into Cortlandt (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Hamilton Unknown Renamed to Henry 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Hammels Unknown Renamed to Belle Harbor 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Rockaway Park February 1, 1908
Arverne February 1, 1908
Hanover (New) October 10, 1907 Reformatted to HANover November 17, 1920
Harlem (New) August 15, 1881 Reformatted to HARlem November 17, 1920
Henry Hamilton 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to HENry November 17, 1920
High Bridge Unknown Renamed to Audubon October 10, 1905(See Note 3)
Hoffman Island Unknown (See Note 15) Unknown (See Note 1) September 1, 1904
Hollis (New) 1914-1915 Reformatted to HOLlis November 17, 1920
Huguenot Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Hunters Point (New) Mid-1911 Reformatted to HUNters Point November 17, 1920
I Unknown Merged into Broad (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Intervale (New) 1914-1915 Reformatted to INTervale November 17, 1920
Jamaica Unknown Reformatted to JAMaica November 17, 1920
Jerome (New) Mid-1919 Reformatted to JERome November 17, 1920
John (New) December 15, 1880 Merged with offset into Cortlandt July 1, 1890
Unknown Reformatted to JOHn November 17, 1920
K Unknown Merged into Columbus (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Kenmore (New) Early 1916 Renamed to Mansfield 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Kingsbridge Unknown Reformatted to KINgsbridge November 17, 1920
Knickerbocker (New) 1917-1918 Renamed to Pennsylvania Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Kreischerville Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
L Unknown Merged into Franklin (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Lafayette Bedford Early 1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to LAFayette November 17, 1920
Laurelton Springfield 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to LAUrelton November 17, 1920
Law See this history page Transferred to Cortlandt June 1, 1891
Lenox 79th June 1909 Reformatted to LENox November 17, 1920
Linoleumville Unknown Merged into West Brighton September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Lispenard (New) Mid-1919 Renamed to WALker (See Note 16) November 17, 1920
Little Neck Unknown Merged into Flushing Early 1908
Longacre (New) Mid-1919 Reformatted to LONgacre November 17, 1920
M Unknown Merged into Spring (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Madison Square Unknown Reformatted to MADison Square November 17, 1920
Main Unknown Reformatted to MAIn November 17, 1920
Mansfield Kenmore 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to MANsfield November 17, 1920
Marble (New) Mid-1910 (See Note 17) Reformatted to MARble November 17, 1920
Melrose Unknown Reformatted to MELrose November 17, 1920
Midland Beach Unknown Merged into New Dorp September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Midwood (New) Mid-1911 Reformatted to MIDwood November 17, 1920
Morningside Unknown Reformatted to MORningside November 17, 1920
Mott Haven (New) Mid-1919 (See Note 18) Reformatted to MOTt Haven November 17, 1920
Murray (New) December 15, 1880 Merged with offset into Cortlandt July 1, 1890
Murray Hill 39th June 1909 Reformatted to MURray Hill November 17, 1920
Nassau (New) December 15, 1880 Renamed to Cortlandt July 1, 1890
Nevins (New) Mid-1919 Reformatted to NEVins November 17, 1920
New (New) December 15, 1880 Merged with offset into Cortlandt July 1, 1890
New Dorp Unknown Renamed to Dongan Hills Early 1920 (See Note 4)
New Springville Unknown Merged into West Brighton September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Newtown Unknown Reformatted to NEWtown November 17, 1920
Olinville Williamsbridge Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to OLInville November 17, 1920
Orchard Unknown Reformatted to ORChard November 17, 1920
Ozone Park Unknown Transferred to Richmond Hill May 10, 1904
Parkville Unknown Merged into Flatbush September 1, 1904
Pearl (New) December 15, 1880 Merged with offset into Cortlandt July 1, 1890
Pennsylvania Knickerbocker Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to PENnsylvania November 17, 1920
Plaza Unknown Reformatted to PLAza November 17, 1920
Pleasant Plains Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Port Richmond West (New) Brighton (See Note 19) Early 1920 (See Note 7) Continued to Port Richmond November 17, 1920
Princes Bay Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Prospect (New) March 1, 1904 Reformatted to PROspect November 17, 1920
Q Unknown Merged into 18th St. (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Queens (See Note 20) Unknown Transferred to Jamaica February 1, 1907
R Unknown Merged into 38th St. (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Rector (New) March 10, 1906 (See Note 21) Reformatted to RECtor November 17, 1920
Rhinelander (New) Early 1916 Reformatted to RHInelander November 17, 1920
Richmond Unknown Merged into New Dorp September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Richmond Hill Unknown Reformatted to RIChmond Hill November 17, 1920
Riverside Unknown Reformatted to RIVerside November 17, 1920
Rockaway Park (New) May 10, 1904 Merged into Hammels February 1, 1908
Rossville Unknown Merged into Tottenville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Saint Nicholas (New) Late 1915 Renamed to Wadsworth Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Schuyler (New) June 1909 Reformatted to SCHuyler November 17, 1920
Sea Gate Unknown Merged into Coney Island February 1, 1908
Sheepshead Unknown Transferred to Coney Island May 10, 1906
Shore Road Bay Ridge 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to SHOre Road November 17, 1920
Skidmore Canarsie 1919-1920 (See Note 7) Reformatted to SKIdmore November 17, 1920
South Unknown Reformatted to SOUth November 17, 1920
South Beach Unknown Merged into Tompkinsville September 1, 1904 (See Note 2)
Spring (New) December 15, 1880 Reformatted to SPRing November 17, 1920
Springfield (New) Late 1909 Renamed to Laurelton 1919-1920 (See Note 4)
Stagg (New) Early 1912 Reformatted to STAgg November 17, 1920
Sterling (New) Mid-1916 Reformatted to STErling November 17, 1920
Stuyvesant Unknown November 15, 1906 (See Note 22) Reformatted to STUyvesant November 17, 1920
Sunset (New) Mid-1908 (See Note 23) Reformatted to SUNset November 17, 1920
T Unknown Merged into Tremont (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Tompkinsville Unknown Continued to Tompkinsville November 17, 1920
Tottenville Unknown Continued to Tottenville November 17, 1920
Tremont Unknown Reformatted to TREmont November 17, 1920
University (New) Mid-1919 Reformatted to UNIversity November 17, 1920
Vanderbilt (New) Late 1915 Reformatted to VANderbilt November 17, 1920
W Unknown Merged into 79th St. (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
Wadsworth Saint Nicholas Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to WADsworth November 17, 1920
Watkins Farragut Mid-1919 (See Note 7) Reformatted to WATkins November 17, 1920
West (New) Brighton (See Note 19) Unknown Renamed to Port Richmond Early 1920 (See Note 4)
Westchester Unknown Reformatted to WEStchester November 17, 1920
Whitehall (New) Mid-1917 Reformatted to WHItehall November 17, 1920
Whitestone Unknown Mostly merged into Flushing Early 1908 (See Note 6)
Whitestone Landing Unknown Merged into Flushing Early 1908 (See Note 6)
William (New) December 15, 1880 Unknown May 15, 1881
Williamsbridge Unknown Renamed to Olinville Mid-1919 (See Note 4)
Williamsburg (New) October 7, 1881 Reformatted to WILliamsburg November 17, 1920
Windsor (New) Mid-1919 Reformatted to WINdsor November 17, 1920
Woodlawn (New) Early 1912 Reformatted to WOOdlawn November 17, 1920
Worth Unknown May 10, 1906 (See Note 24) Reformatted to WORth November 17, 1920
X Unknown Merged into Harlem (See Note 14) March 1, 1895
18th 21st July 1, 1890 Renamed to Gramercy December 1, 1903
21st (New) December 15, 1880 Renamed to 18th July 1, 1890
38th 39th July 1, 1890 Renamed to Murray Hill June 1909
39th (New) December 15, 1880 Renamed to 38th July 1, 1890
79th (New) July 1, 1890 Renamed to Lenox June 1909

NOTE 1: Only one subscriber in the Arrochar exchange and one in the Hoffman Island exchange could be found in the May 10, 1904 directory. These subscribers were not listed in the September 1, 1904 directory.

NOTE 2: This is one of a very large number of exchanges in Staten Island that seem to have had only a small number of subscribers, often one or two, in the directories up to May 10, 1904. In the next directory, dated September 10, 1904, all Staten Island numbers were consolidated into four exchanges. But no numbers were changed, so it is possible that there were only four physical exchanges even earlier, but exchange names had been assigned to these subscribers in the belief that they would grow to larger groups with their own exchange. See also Note 6, below.

NOTE 3: Some High Bridge numbers were changed to the corresponding Audubon numbers in the May 10, 1905 directory, but others remained. All had been changed by the October 10, 1905 directory.

NOTE 4: The renaming of these exchanges was apparently in anticipation of the start of dial service in November, 1920. A table of the complete set of renamings is provided elsewhere on this site. (Note 24that two of the altered exchanges, New Dorp and West Brighton, were in Staten Island, which was non-dialable during the entire early dial era, so one must assume that eventual dialability was anticipated.)

NOTE 5: Spelled "Bay Side" (two words) in the earlier usage before 1908, "Bayside" (one word) when revived in early 1913.

NOTE 6: The Bay Side, College Point, Whitestone, and Whitestone Landing exchanges were shown in the list of exchanges of the May 10, 1908 directory. However, all telephones that I have been able to find with numbers in these four exchanges in the February 1, 1908 directory had been changed to Flushing numbers (usually the same number, but not always) by May 10, 1908. Therefore, although using the list would indicate that the exchanges were eliminated in mid-1908, an early 1908 date is most likely correct.

NOTE 7: These exchanges were created as a result of the renaming of exchanges which could cause conflicts when dialed, apparently in anticipation of the start of dial service in November, 1920. A table of the complete set of renamings is provided elsewhere on this site.

NOTE 8: The Brooklyn exchange was renamed "Main" effective with the March 1, 1899 directory. Some numbers were changed, however.

NOTE 9: The Bryant exchange, first appearing in the October 10, 1905 directory, was carved out of the territory in the pre- existing 38th St. exchange. All the numbers were new, however.

NOTE 10: The Canal exchange is listed in the B list dated May 6, 1915, but not in the Z list for this date. It appears in both lists of the directory dated October 15, 1915. The start date, thus, is unclear.

NOTE 11: At least one listing for a subscriber in the February 1, 1908 directory shows it as remaining with its Douglaston number; the subscriber is no longer to be found in the May 1, 1908 directory, so it is possible that this was a relic listing that should have been removed but was not.

NOTE 12: The list of exchanges in the October 11, 1911 directory shows the Forest Hills exchange. However, no telephones appear to have been given numbers in this exchange until the following directory (February 1, 1912). Therefore, although using the list would indicate that the exchange was started in mid-1911, a late 1911 date is most likely correct.

NOTE 13: Only one subscriber in the Foster's Meadow exchange could be found in the directories consulted. It is suspected that this exchange never had its own switchboard, but was a part of the Jamaica exchange, separately labeled for some unknown reason.

NOTE 14: These "single letter" exchanges were reserved for pay telephones. They appear to be reserved sections of regularly named exchanges, and were all merged, as of the March 1, 1895 directory, into the named exchanges. It is unlikely that they ever existed as separate switchboards.

NOTE 15: Only one subscriber in the Hoffman Island exchange could be found in the March 10, 1904 directory. This subscriber had been shown wuith the same number (except for the party line letter) in the Tompkinsville exchange in the December 1, 1903 directory, and was gone, as stated in Note 1, by the September 1, 1904 directory. It is suspected that this exchange never had its own switchboard, but was a part of the Tompkinsville exchange, separately labeled for some unknown reason.

NOTE 16: The change from Lispenard to WALker is the only one of the changes in the 1918-1920 era that does not appear to be elicited by the need to eliminate conflicts in exchange names that would be dialed identically. It seems merely to have been an arbitrary change. Also, at least one number was changed irregularly (the four digit part not being the same in the WALker exchange as it had been in the Lispenard exchange), but nearly all were changed regularly.

NOTE 17: The Marble exchange, first appearing in the October 13, 1910 directory, was carved out of the territory in the pre- existing Kingsbridge exchange. All the numbers were new, however.

NOTE 18: In the Z lists for all directories dated October 2, 1919 or later, this exchange appears. It is not found, however, in the B lists.

NOTE 19: The exchange is generally shown as "West Brighton," but in some lists of exchanges it is given as "West New Brighton."

NOTE 20: This exchange was associated with a specific area then called "Queens", smaller than the whole county, now known as Queens Village.

NOTE 21: According to a sticker notice attached to the February 1, 1906 directory, the Rector exchange opened on March 10, 1906. The sticker having been presented before that date, the actual opening may have differed from that date by a few days.

NOTE 22: According to a sticker notice attached to the October 10, 1906 directory, the Stuyvesant exchange was to open "on or about November 15, 1906." The sticker having been presented before that date, the actual opening may have differed from that date by a few days.

NOTE 23: Many Bay Ridge numbers were replaced by Sunset numbers effective with the October 11, 1911 directory. However, the Sunset exchange was started in 1908.

NOTE 24: This exchange appears to have first begun in the May 10, 1906 directory, but that is an estimate based on a limited amount of searching. More research may be necessary.



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