Thank Lyndon Johnson for Not Having More Billboards on the Highway

It could have been much, much worse.

October 22: On this day in 1965, US president Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act. Its aim was to limit the amount of billboards and other outdoor advertising on the highway, as well as to clean up other roadside grossness like piles of junk. The bill was actually a passion project of the first lady, who believed that limiting billboard advertising would make the nation a better place to not only look at but also to live. The bill also focused on cleaning up roads and parks, and preventing roadside junkyards from view.

Business groups, advertisers and polluters were less than thrilled. Organizations championing their cause worked tirelessly to stifle the bill and companies who lost their billboards were handsomely compensated by the government. The law became an important principle, highlighting that the country's roadsides are worth protecting, an idea that holds to this day as the basis for outdoor advertising. "Beauty belongs to all the people. And so long as I am President, what has been divinely given to nature will not be taken recklessly away by man." To mark this significant automotive day in history, here are some real classy billboard ads.

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