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Area Code 785 was the result of a split from 913 on July 20, 1997. It covers most telephone exchanges in northern Kansas. It stretches from the Colorado state line on the west to the Missouri state line on the east, while excluding the Kansas City Metropolitan Area (913). The largest city (by population) covered by the area code is the state capital of Topeka.
When area codes were implemented in 1946 the southern half of the state (Dodge City, Emporia, Garden City, Wichita) would receive 316, while the northern half (Kansas City, Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina, Hays) would receive 913. The north-south division is unusual for Kansas, a state which usually sees east-west geographic disputes. However, since all three of the state's largest cities--Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City--are in the eastern half of the state, the north-south divide was necessary.
This configuration remained in place for 30 years. However, by the mid-1990s, 913 was close to exhaustion due to the popularity of cell phones and pagers, as well as the rapid growth of the Kansas City area. 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. On February 12, 1997, the NANPA announced that most of the Kansas side of the Kansas City area would remain in 913, while most of the western portion of the old 913 territory would split off into the new 785 area code. 785 began its split on July 20, 1997; permissive dialing continued until October 3, 1998.
The boundary between 785 and area code 620, which covers southern Kansas outside of the Wichita metropolitan area, runs from west to east roughly following a path along K-4 and K-96. The code boundary dips along I-135 in McPherson County and continues east to just north of Emporia in Lyon County along the Kansas Turnpike. At this point, area code 785 reaches its easternmost boundary with the current boundary for area code 913, although a small portion of the northeast corner of Kansas across the Missouri River from St. Joseph, Missouri is part of 785.
The area code covers the entire counties of Anderson, Cheyenne, Franklin, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Jewell, Republic, Washington, Nemaha, Marshall, Brown, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Graham, Rooks, Osborne, Mitchell, Lincoln, Cloud, Ottawa, Clay, Riley, Pottawatomie, Jackson, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego, Ness, Rush, Ellis, Russell, Ellsworth, Saline, Dickinson, Geary, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas, as well as portions of Atchison, Coffey, Jefferson, Morris and McPherson counties.
One exception to this rule is the city of Elwood in Doniphan County, which retains the 913 area code while the remaining geographical balance of the county is under the 785 area code. This is because Elwood receives its dialtone from St. Joseph, Missouri which is covered by the Kansas City, Missouri LATA, located in area code 816. All bordering 816/913 rate centers have each other's area codes.
|Kansas area codes: 316, 620, 785, 913|
|North: 308, 402|
|West: 719, 970||area code 785||East: 660, 816, 913|
|Colorado area codes: 303, 719, 720, 970|
|Missouri area codes: 314, 417, 573, 636, 660, 816|
|Nebraska area codes: 308, 402|