Making a phone call is a lot less complicated these days. All you have to do is look at your cell phone and command Siri to call whomever, and within seconds, whomever is speaking to you through your dashboard or in your earbuds.

I remember phone numbers from when I was a kid but don't ask me what someone's number is today. I couldn't tell you because chances are I never knew it. Maybe I programmed it into my cell phone once, and now push a button or bark a command to make a call.

When I was a kid, we had a rotary telephone. It was plugged into the wall and required you to dial a series of numbers with your finger to make a call. Later, push-button phones allowed you to place a call by punching in the phone number.

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Eventually, phones became cordless, and the rest is history.

There was a time when all New Bedford phone numbers began with '99,' so you only had to dial five digits to complete a local call. The area code was not required when dialing a number.

New Bedford Had Another Area Code Before It Was The 508
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Before 1988, Massachusetts had two area codes. Everything east of the western edge of Worcester County, including the SouthCoast, Cape Cod, the Islands and Boston, was assigned the 617 area code. Everywhere west of that was assigned the 413 area code.

On July 16, 1988, the 508 area code replaced the 617 area code in southern portions of central Massachusetts, the south coastal region, and the Cape and Islands. Everything inside a semicircle around Boston remained in the 617 area code, and Western Massachusetts kept the 413 area code.

The 978 and 774 area codes, created in 1997 and 2001, reduced the size of the region covered by the 508 area code.

To think, before 1947, Massachusetts didn't use area codes at all.

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