Area code 913 is the area code for telephone exchanges in northeastern Kansas. Prior to July 20, 1997, 913 covered all of northern Kansas from the Colorado state line to the Missouri state line. It has since been reduced to a small ribbon of eight counties bordering Missouri—an area largely coextensive with the Kansas portion of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
History of area codes in Kansas
Despite a relatively small population, Kansas was scheduled to receive two area codes under the original North American Numbering Plan proposal from the Bell Telephone Company in 1946. Originally, area codes would follow sequentially based on geography, and under the 1946 plan, Kansas would receive area codes 617 and 618.
In October 1947, when the final plan was adopted, Kansas still received two area codes, although the numbers were very different from the original plan. The southern half of the state (Dodge City, Emporia, Garden City, Wichita) received 316, while the northern half (Kansas City, Shawnee, Overland Park, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka) became numbering plan area 913.
The original configuration was unusual for Kansas, a state which has usually seen east-west geographic disputes. However, a north-south split was deemed necessary because the state's three major metropolitan areas (Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita), and consequently, most of the state's landlines, are all in the east.
Kansas City's growth necessitates a new code
The two area codes of Kansas remained constant for more than 40 years, but by the mid-1990s, the proliferation of cell phones, the growing population in the Kansas City metropolitan area (most notably Johnson County and Overland Park), and deregulation due to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the exchanges for area code 913 were quickly being exhausted. The shortage was exacerbated by the fact that most of the Kansas City area is a single LATA, meaning that several numbers in area code 816, which serves the Missouri side, were not available for use.
Late in 1996, the Kansas Corporation Commission, which oversees telecommunications in the state, requested relief from the NANPA for the exchanges of area code 913, and on February 12, 1997, the NANPA responded by splitting off the bulk of the old 913 territory—essentially, everything from Lawrence westward—into the new 785 area code. From July 20, 1997 through October 2, 1998, a period of permissive dialing was in use, allowing customers affected by the new area code to use either 913 or 785 when dialing long-distance. On October 3, 1998, the 785 area code became mandatory in the new calling area, and 913 was reduced to the Kansas City area.
Even with the Kansas City area's continued growth, 913 is nowhere near exhaustion. The most recent NANPA projections estimated that the Kansas side of the Kansas City area will not need another area code until 2045.
Major cities formerly in area code 913 (now in area code 785)
When area code 785 took away most of the geographic territory of area code 913, Wyandotte, Linn, Miami, Johnson, Leavenworth, and Atchison counties kept 913. The city of Elwood, surrounded on 3 sides by Missouri, retained the 913 area code, despite the rest of Doniphan County switching to the 785 area code. This is because Elwood receives its dial tone from St. Joseph, Missouri, which is part of the Kansas City LATA. It would have been too expensive for Southwestern Bell to rewire Elwood's trunk so it could follow the rest of Doniphan County into 785.
When area code 913 covered all of northern Kansas, the boundary ran from west to east roughly following a path along Kansas Routes 4 and 96 from the Colorado state line eastward. The code boundary dipped along Interstate 135 in McPherson County and continued east to just north of Emporia in Lyon County along the Kansas Turnpike, and then all the way to the Missouri state line.
|Kansas area codes: 316, 620, 785, 913|
|West: 785||area code 913||East: 660, 816|
|Missouri area codes: 314, 417, 573, 636, 660, 816|