“Exchanging” Telephone Numbers

For those who came of age in Detroit anytime before the 1970s, the phrase “TYler 8-7100” likely resonates in memory. That was the phone number for the “We do good work” folks at Belvedere Construction. The use of “Exchange Names” as a way to help remember telephone numbers had its genesis in England in the 20s. By the 50s we were using the 2 Letter – 5 number format to delineate phone numbers across the Detroit area.

We called TOwnsend 9-2800 for Marathon fuel oil. You could get a few extra dollars until payday by calling Friendly Bob Adams of General Finance Company at WOodward 5-0043.  “You can have worry free, home delivery” when you called Twin Pines at TExas 4-1100. TIfanny 6-5666 was the number to call if you had a Keener Lucky License Number. And one of the most memorable of all phone numbers for Keener fans was WOodward 3-8925, the WKNR hit line.

Elieen Trombley Glick’s fantastic Detroit Memories website has a side bar where she has collected the magic words associated with every Detroit telephone exchange.  Do you remember these?

~ ARlington ~ AVenue ~ BRidge ~ BRoadway ~ BRown ~ CAdillac ~ CApitol ~ CEdar ~ CHerry ~ CLifford ~ COngress ~ CRestview ~ CRestwood ~ DIamond ~ DRexel ~ DUnkirk ~ EDgewater ~ ELgin ~ ELmhurst ~ EVergreen ~ FAirmont ~ FAirview ~ FEderal ~ FIeldbrook ~ FItzroy ~ FOrest ~ GArfield ~ GEneva ~ GLenview ~ GReenleaf ~ HOgarth ~ HOward ~ HUnter ~ IVanhoe ~ JEfferson ~ JOrdan ~ JUniper ~ KEnwood ~ LAfayette ~ LAkeview ~ LEnox ~ LIberty ~ LIncoln ~ LOgan ~ LOrain ~ LUzon ~ MAdison ~ MArket ~ MAyfair ~ MElrose ~ MIdwest ~ MUrray ~ MUlberry ~ MYrtle ~ NAtional ~ NIagara ~ NOrthlawn ~ NOrmandy ~ OAkland ~ OLive ~ ORegon ~ ORleans ~ OXbow ~ PArkway ~ PIngree ~ PIoneer ~ PLaza ~ PRescott ~ PRospect ~ RAndolph ~ REdford ~ REpublic ~ ROckwell ~ SLocum ~ TAshmoo ~ TEmple ~ TEnneyson ~ TErrace ~ TExas ~ TIffany ~ TOwnsend ~ TRiangle ~ TRinity ~ TRojan ~ TUxedo ~ TUlsa ~ TWinbrook ~ TYler ~ UNiversity ~ ULysses ~ VAlley ~ VEnice ~ VErmont ~ VInewood ~ WAlnut ~ WArwick ~ WEbster ~ WEstwood ~ WHitney ~ WOodward

Extra Credit: NOrmandy was the name associated with Ann Arbor’s 66 exchange. Do you remember the word associated with 76? The Telephone Name Exchange Project claims it was SOciety. The YP in front of the 97 exchange paralleled the city it served, YPsilanti. Old phone books from the era report that the University of Michigan’s  74 exchange was tied to the word PIoneer, which also happened to be the mascot name for Ann Arbor High School, before two more were built in the city.

For uber fans of Exchange history, there’s an on-line database with a searchable nationwide collection of words/numbers.

Feb 5th, 2012 | Posted in Keener
  1. Frank Hartge
    Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:43 | #1

    One set of radio phone numbers I remember were the call-in numbers on that very early practitioner of talk radio, WTAK. If my recall is correct, it was “KEnwood five six one hundred. GArfield five four thousand”.

    Are there any airchecks from that station?

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