Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flint Artifacts: Crooks Studio 1940 Calendar


  1. Gordy, where did you unearth this? You may or may not know that our grandfather owned Crooks for several years. His collection of Flint photographs was donated to the archive of then-GMI in 1990 upon his death. Do you remember the mnemonic used for the first two digits of the phone number?

    Kathy Wallace

    1. I'm not sure where I got this one. It may have been something for sale on eBay at one point. I've seen a lot of great Crooks photos over the years. Did you have any around the house on Bassett? The only mnemonic I know is for my grandparents' phone — Cedar 89820.

  2. Flint was one of those areas that started out with a central exchange building...the physical location to which the phone wiring from every home and business were run. Originally those wires ran to plug-panels, and telephone operators would connect calls manually. Later the same buildings contained the big, complicated switch-machine that would automatically connect the calling line to the called line and make the system work.

    The downtown Flint building that contained CEdar exchanges (23x-xxxx) is located at the corner of Beach and First Streets, kitty-corner from my grandfather's original store location. It has old microwave antennas on a tower attached to the roof, having done dual duty as a part of the original AT&T-operated long distance voice communications system.

    Flint also had other exchanges, operated out of suburban exchange buildings. For instance, the PIlgrim (74x-xxxx) numbers were based in a modest unlabeled brick building on Atherton Road in Burton. Not all suburban telephone buildings had exchange-level switchgear and thus their own exchange name and number set, though...some were just second-tier passthroughs to the primary switches in the CEdar buiding.

    There's a list of all the Bell-System-recommended exchange names in Wikipedia.

  3. Flint didn't have the entire 23 exchange. 231 was, and possibly still is, located in Brighton. The 237 exchange was in Detroit, and remains as part of the 313 area code. 236 and 237 were not used in Flint most likely due to the switching. 6 and 7 were switching prefixes for outlying exchanges. The other exchanges were 742, 743, and 744 and 785, 787, and 789. Later 767 was added for touch tone phones, then 766 for GM. Later there were 732 and 733 in Flint Twp., and still later 257 and 251. 251 is the radio studio line exchange. 257 was originally used for alternative long distance access.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.