Way back in 1947, AT&T started using area codes in North America. At first, a total of 86 three-digit codes were established in the U.S. and parts of Canada, and two of those were assigned to regions in Wisconsin. The 715 area code was originally applied to the northern portion of the state, and 414 was given to the rest. As the state’s population increased, telephones became more commonplace, and available phone numbers with the 414 and 715 prefixes dwindled, Wisconsin added a few more area codes in the years that followed.
The 608 code—covering the southwest section of the state—came in 1955. The code count remained at just three until 1997, when 920 was assigned to a swath of northeast Wisconsin that once used the 414 area code. Before the turn of the century, southeast Wisconsin added the 262 area code. Then in 2010, the 534 code as added to 715 territory as a result of the latter code running out of available numerals.
Starting next month, Wisconsin will have a new area code. Yes, 274 will be added to what once was solely 920 territory in early May. That new combination of numbers will bring Wisconsin’s area code total to seven. Between that forthcoming code and Milwaukee Day (a civic celebration founded on account of the city’s 414 area code) taking place April 14, we figured it’s about time to get down to brass tacks and give you the definitive ranking of Wisconsin area codes.
7. Area Code 274
It’s new, unproven, and doesn’t have much of a—pun intended—ring to it. Maybe it’ll grow on us over time, but not quite yet.
6. Area Code 534
To be honest, we had no idea this area code even existed until we started writing this article. We’ve never received a call from anyone with this area code and probably never will…unless it’s someone from Rhinelander.
5. Area Code 262
Does, like, Burlington celebrate “Burlington Day” on April 3 (a.k.a. February 62nd) or something? Sorry, but 262 is only 25 years old and there are simply better codes out there.
4. Area Code 608
At the risk of upsetting our readers in Madison, La Crosse, and other southeast Wisconsin locales, 608 just doesn’t spark joy.
3. Area Code 920
It was assigned in honor of Reggie White and it’s the biggest number of the seven Wisconsin area codes.
2. Area Code 715
It’s worth noting that 715 was one of the original Wisconsin area codes and, even with the addition of 534 in 2010, it still covers the largest portion of the state. Impressive!
1. Area Code 414
Like it would’ve ever been any other area code. It’s strong-sounding, it has flash, it’s a brand unto itself, and it inspired a goddamn holiday that brings Milwaukee together every April. Congrats, 414! You are the best area code in the state of Wisconsin and the world.