The other day someone posted a photo of the Stop & Shop grocery store in Whiteland. There were two of these stores – the second on Madison Avenue north of the Manual High School in Indianapolis. My folks shopped there a couple of times, but they were Standard Grocery patrons. Standard what? Standard Grocery and A&P Grocery stores have been gone for a really long time.
The thing that caught my eye and started the old brain churning was the phone number. Ke-5-7577. Ke what did that stand for? Ah I remember Kellogg. All the phone numbers started with two letters. Do you remember?
60+ years ago I remember my great-grandparent’s hand-crank phone on the wall by the side door. I think that was the FlatRock or maybe it was the Cave exchange in Shelby County. When I was a kid in Greenwood we had a party line and our number was 78. It was really neat. It was a 5 party line. You picked up the phone and listened to see if anyone was talking and if there was no one on the line the Operator would ask, “Number please”.
It was about 1956 or 7 when Greenwood got dial phones. Our number was TU 1-4004 and it was a private line. We had come of age. Tucker 1-4004. These prefixes stayed around for a long time until area codes arrived. It must have been too difficult or not enough names to go around because the phone companies went to strictly numbers.
It has been a long time and my memory of trivial things is not as sharp as it once was, thank goodness for Google. So below, based on my memory and Google searches, is a list of some of the old exchange names. I hope they bring back fond memories and a few smiles.
My dad worked at the Midwest Feed Store on South Harding St. in Indianapolis and the number there was Me2-3284 and with that I start the list.
If I have made any mistakes we can blame it on Google. Maybe we have a few new Jeopardy answers?
Thanks for listening.