Area code 616
Area code 616 is the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) area code for West Michigan, which is a cultural and economic region of Lower Michigan that is mainly focused around the state's second largest city, Grand Rapids. The area code serves Greater Grand Rapids and also includes Holland, Greenville, and Grand Haven. It includes all of Kent and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties, including the western and central parts of Ionia County.
616 was created in 1947 as one of the original area codes. It originally served the entire western half of the Lower Peninsula, as well as the Upper Peninsula. It was by far the largest of Michigan's three original numbering plan areas, covering as much territory as 313 and 517 combined. It was also the largest numbering plan area east of the Mississippi River that did not cover an entire state. In 1961, the Upper Peninsula split off as area code 906.
This configuration remained in place for 38 years. In 1999, the northwestern Lower Peninsula, including Muskegon, Traverse City and Cadillac, became area code 231. As a result, 616 was now mostly coextensive with the core of West Michigan, though Muskegon was now in 231.
The 1999 split was intended to be a long-term solution for the region. However, within two years, the proliferation of cell phones and pagers brought 616 close to exhaustion once again. In 2002, the lower third of the old 616 territory, including Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, was split off and assigned area code 269, leaving the present area.