Names were used in order to help phone customers remember the telephone exchange name. Having a name made it simple for telephone switchboard operators to  understand. In Vancouver (BC) there were telephone exchange names from 1911 into the 70s. From 1962 to 1970, the phone number to reach my family at our Vancouver (BC) address was Amherst 1-0505. Others in Vancouver had telephone exchange names like Alpine, Castle, Cedar, Cherry, Dickens, Elgin, Emerald, Fairfax, Fraser, Hastings, Marine, Mutual, Regent and Trinity. In North Vancouver the telephone exchange numbers were Willow, York and Yukon. West Vancouver had the telephone exchange names Walnut and Waverly 9. During 1970, all the telephone exchange names were discarded and callers spoke out their 7-digit phone numbers, when telling others what number to reach them at. From that time on Vancouver phone books didn’t include telephone exchange numbers.

(Historical anecdote: When U.S. President Warren Harding visited Vancouver in 1923, BC Tel pre-arranged with U.S. phone companies that Harding would be able to reach Washington, DC. BC Tel proudly reported that when a call was placed in Vancouver, it took President Harding only 20 minutes to connect to Washington).

In “Bigelow 6-200” the singer is “broken-hearted” because her “baby” is taking so long to get around to calling her on the phone. It seems the catalyst for his reluctance is, as she explains “Well, I’m sorry baby that we had a fight. And you left me the other night.” She is also waiting for “the dog gone phone to ring.” At the time it was viewed as proper etiquette for the guy to phone the girlfriend, and a bit brazen for a girlfriend to initiate phoning her boyfriend.

“Bigelow 6-200” did not chart nationally in the USA, but it climbed to #3 in Vancouver (BC) in November 1956. Late that year Brenda Lee was in Las Vegas at the Flamingo, opening for the Ink Spots. Her next single release was in the winter of 1956-57 titled “One Step At A Time”.