Area Codes

The history of local area codes (plus the possibility of a neW area code coming soon)

Using area codes became second nature before our cell phones made it easy enough to call someone by tapping the screen with a finger, but for the first 15 years of my life I dialed 7-digits to make a local call.

Area code 301 covered the entire state of Maryland when it was established in 1947. It wasn’t until October of 1991 that 410 was brought into play for Baltimore and the Eastern Shore. Usually the largest city in the area (Baltimore) maintains the original area code, but in our case the D.C. suburbs kept 301. Howard County was split between 301 and 410.

Just a few years after the initial Maryland split, we began to run out of 301 numbers. On June 1st, 1997, 240 was introduced as an overlay area code. This was met with a bit of resistance because it meant we had to dial 10 digits for local calls instead of the 7 everyone was used to. There were talks of the new overlay area code being put into use in Frederick and points west, but Bell Atlantic thought it was unfair to force those customers to change their numbers so they introduced 240 throughout the area.

We are now getting close to running out of 301/240 numbers, so it’s possible that 227 is introduced as a new area code within the next 5 years.

Fun MoCo Memory…
Phone numbers from certain areas started with the same 3 digits, so you only had to remember the last 4. Please forgive me if any of these are incorrect, but here are a few:

Gaithersburg- 977
Potomac- 299
Bethesda- 365, 229, 530
Damascus- 253, 831
Colesville- 384
Olney- 774
Wheaton/Aspen Hill- 942, 946
White Oak- 622, 439
Silver Spring- 593, 587, 589
Kensington- 949, 649
Germantown- 972
Rockville- 424, 762, 340, 279, 270
Takoma Park- 585

Image below courtesy of Wikipedia

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