The giant Route 66 shield mural featured on the back of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois, is the cover image of the 2016 Route 66 wall calendar published by National Geographic.
The cover image is seen above. The inside of the calendar features images from the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico; Route 66 near Owl Rock in New Mexico; Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona; Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona; Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis; Hackberry General Store in Hackberry, Arizona; Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri; Cool Springs Camp near Kingman, Arizona; Historic Seligman Sundries in Seligman, Arizona; Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Illinois; and Route 66 Restaurant of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
A news release from Pontiac Tourism explains how the cover came to be:
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.
(Image courtesy of Pontiac Tourism)