Old signs with old phone exchanges

I don’t know how long B. & H. Electric has been in Prospect Heights, but the NE phone exchange came into use in 1930, when the New York Telephone Company greatly expanded its dialing system.

SA also came into existence in 1930; it covered West Harlem. This rusty relic, advertising another electric company, is still hanging on outside an apartment building in the West 150s.

SA stood for Sacramento. But why Sacramento? 

For those perplexed by these and other mysteries of old letter phone prefixes, here’s an exhaustive website that can shed a little light.

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8 Responses to “Old signs with old phone exchanges”

  1. Doug D Says:

    i would love to know where theses are.

  2. andyinsdca Says:

    B&H still has the same phone number, just in the 718 now. Very cool.

  3. bigmissfrenchie Says:

    That NEvins exchange is still around, only now it’s 638. Who knows why Sacramento? There were so many exchanges that seemed to have nothing to do with the location, like EXeter and STillwell in Queens, while others were very geographically linked, like CHelsea, and MUrray Hill.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    And Butterfield on the Upper East Side. Why Butterfield?

  5. petey Says:

    mine was REgent. still around as 737 or 732.

  6. PatP Says:

    Manhattan, West 70s: my exchange was ENright 1…, now 631; my landlord’s was SUsquehanna 7…, now 787.

  7. Peter Frishauf Says:

    My friend Steve Hopkins notes:

    There’s always the most famous of all, even if it’s not in NY, never did find out where.



  8. Megan Says:

    On another note, “adequately wired” – what refreshingly modest marketing copy!

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