Fact Friday #1 - History of the 704 Area Code


704, pronounced 7-“oh”-4 locally, is one of the original 86 area codes assigned by the Bell System in 1947, when it covered the entire state of NC. Today, it is the main area code covering Charlotte and all or part of 12 surrounding counties in south-central NC. When area codes were first introduced, they were assigned based on population. The 1st number could be any digit from 2 to 9, the 2nd number either 0 or 1, and the 3rd number any digit. Highly populated areas were given the lowest 1st & 3rd digits with a 1 in the center to minimize the impact on the rotary phone system due to heavy call volume. Zero was less preferable to use since it took longer to dial using a rotary phone. An effort was also made to avoid giving nearby areas similar codes, to avoid confusion and mis-dialed numbers. The end result was NYC w/ 212, L.A. w/ 213, Chi Town w/ 312, Philly w/ 215, The "D" with 313, etc. The digits given to NC give insight to its relatively sparse population at the time. By contrast, today 704 is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Though now more commonly associated with Charlotte and surrounding areas, 704 will always represent the best of NC, from the mountains of Appalachia to the sands of the Outer Banks. It is a timeless ode to the state’s history.