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Colorado's history behind the 303 area code

In honor of "303 Day," History Colorado shows us our state's history of the area codes assigned to our phone numbers.

COLORADO, USA — While March 3 may not hold any special meaning for most of the country, the unofficial holiday of "303 Day" takes on special meaning for Coloradans.

We all know Coloradans don't really need an excuse to celebrate this great state, because we already know why we love it here. 

But with a name like "three-oh-three day," anyone who knows anything about the Centennial State knows the 303 area code is special because it's the most known and most coveted three numbers in the state.

First implemented in 1947, the original 303 area code covered the entire state and it stayed that way for 41 years. 

In 1988, a geographic split led to Colorado's second area code -- 719, covering a large chunk of counties south and east of the Denver metro area.   

RELATED: Where you can get deals in honor of 303 Day

Then another split in 1995 created the 970 area code, which covers pretty much the rest of the state. 

When the 970 area code showed up, the 303 prefix was confined to a handful of counties surrounding and including the metro Denver area.

Fast forward to the late '90s, as Colorado's population continued to grow and the state found itself running out of 303 phone numbers for the population. 

That's when the state added a fourth area code. 720 showed up in 1998 to help cover the same metro area as the 303 area code.

RELATED: Colorado lawmakers aim to make Juneteenth a state holiday

Full circle to 2022, when Colorado finds itself facing the same problem of not having enough phone numbers for residents. 

In April, Colorado will introduce its fifth area code – 983 – to help cover the same areas that 303 and 720 live in. 

Colorado could have claimed the 420 area code. According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, those three digits have not been claimed yet. 


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