Route 66 Mural Earns National Geographic Calendar Cover

Our thanks to Pontiac, IL tourism director, Ellie Alexander, for providing this information for us to share with you.

Pontiac’s own world’s largest painted Route 66 shield mural is the featured cover photograph on one of National Geographic’s 2016 promotional calendars. The Route 66-themed calendar includes 12 stunning images taken along the historic “Mother Road.” Pontiac’s shield mural is the image for December, and was selected as the calendar’s impressive cover photo.

NatGeo Cal Cover 2016-mod_0.jpg

According to Tim Dye, Director of the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center in Pontiac, in June of 2014, a man named Jonathan Mortenson came into the museum and started to ask about what sites in Pontiac would make good photographs. Mortenson explained that he was working on a calendar for the National Geographic Society. Tim contacted Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell who met with the photographer and gave him a brief tour of the city’s many attractions, including the Route 66 Shield Mural. Tim then offered to provide one of the museum’s classic Pontiac automobiles to enhance the photograph. Later, Dye received an email informing him that the classic car and the Route 66 mural would be on the cover of the National Geographic calendar.

The Route 66 mural was painted by Diaz Sign Art of Pontiac in 2007 and was the first of Pontiac’s now 24 murals. The mural is located on the back wall of the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. According to Ellie Alexander, Director of Pontiac Tourism, since its painting, the Route 66 mural has appeared in travel-related magazines and newspapers in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Russia, Australia, Canada, Brazil, and other places. The shield mural has also been included in a number of State of Illinois promotional videos.

Pontiac Mayor, Bob Russell, commented on the calendar, “It is just wonderful. We welcome everyone to Pontiac and this bit of free promotion is a bonus for us. Bringing new visitors to our city is the goal of our very active tourism department. We all hope to see the results of their success in growing economic development.”

Copies of the National Geographic Route 66 calendar will be available for purchase at the Pontiac Oakland Auto Museum.

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Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.