History

History

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1796

1835
The large format American poster (more than 50 square feet) originates in New York when Jared Bell begins printing circus posters.
1796
The lithographic printing process is perfected, making the illustrated poster a reality.
1850
Exterior advertising is first used on street railways.
1867
The earliest recorded billboard leasing occurs.
1900
A standardized billboard structure is established in America.
1902
J.M. Coe creates the Pensacola Advertising Company, a small poster company built to promote the coming attractions of the Pensacola Opera House.
1906
Charles W. Lamar, President of the American National Bank of Pensacola, partners with J.M. Coe. The two men owned the opera house and the poster business.
1908
A coin flip in Pensacola lands Charles Lamar the opportunity of a lifetime. Charles Lamar and J.M. Coe dissolve their three-year partnership using a coin toss to divide their assets: the Pensacola Opera House and the Pensacola Advertising Company. Lamar renames the less-lucrative poster company Lamar Outdoor Advertising Company. Over the next century, Lamar and his descendants transform Lamar Advertising from a small sign company on the Gulf Coast into one of the nation’s largest Out-of-Home advertising companies.
1908
The Ford Model T automobile is introduced in the U.S., increasing road travel.
1912
Standardized outdoor advertising services are at the disposal of national advertisers in nearly every major urban center.
1925
After concluding his studies at Princeton and a brief time in investment banking, Charles Lamar’s oldest son Lamartine Varnado joins the billboard business. Younger brother Charles W. Lamar Jr. joins the business later that year.
1926
General Outdoor Advertising (GOA) Company, one of the largest regional companies at the time, offers to buy Lamar’s New Orleans plant. As part of the deal, GOA trades their Baton Rouge plant to Lamar, establishing the Lamar family in a new city.
1927
Lamar purchases the Baton Rouge Poster Advertising Company and continues further expansion into Louisiana.
Late 1920’s and 1930’s
Lamar continues growing as a result of its
decentralized business structure and focus on
small towns instead of big cities. Popular
advertising partners include Ritz, Coca-Cola,
General Electric and Pabst Beer.

1930

Early 1940’s
Lamar plays a prominent role in the war effort. Poster designs urge citizens to invest in war bonds and to help support the country during World War II.
1944
Charles Lamar dies on February 13 in New Orleans. Charles Lamar Jr. takes over as General Manager.
1953
Boston native Kevin P. Reilly marries Ann Lamar Switzer (Charles Lamar Jr.’s niece) while in the Navy.
1956
President Eisenhower signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act into law, authorizing $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System. This forever changed the landscape of American travel, road trips and outdoor advertising.
1955
Kevin Reilly moves to Baton Rouge for the summer to work in the family business. Upon Charles Lamar Jr.’s request, Reilly forgoes his final year at Harvard Business School to work full time in the business.
1956
Over the next 17 years, Lamar purchases 12 outdoor advertising companies in Louisiana, Florida and Alabama.
1958
Kevin Reilly becomes General Manager of Lamar Advertising Company on August 1.
1960
After a 35-year career in the outdoor advertising business, Charles Lamar Jr. dies on June 12 at the age of 57.
1960's
Unable to secure traditional bank financing, the Company finds creative solutions, including owner financing and syndicates of investors. This helps Lamar purchase smaller billboard companies and contributes to its growth under Kevin Reilly’s leadership.
1965
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Highway Beautification Act into law. The act called for control of billboards along the interstate and federal-aid primary highway systems.
1972
Reilly forms The Lamar Corporation (TLC) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
TLC begins providing centralized accounting and management for Lamar’s 13 independently-operated outdoor advertising companies.
1974
Over the next eight years, Lamar acquires
10 additional advertising companies.
1979
Hurricane Frederick hits the Gulf Coast and creates a turning point in the company’s history. Half of Lamar Advertising Company’s billboards in Pensacola and 90% of its billboards in Mobile were knocked down or destroyed, requiring a six-month reconstruction. Reilly’s son, Kevin P. Reilly Jr., joins the company at this time.
1979
Lamar Advertising moves its corporate headquarters to 5551 Corporate Boulevard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Early 1980's
Lamar continues its acquisition strategy and purchases companies in Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.
1983
Lamar acquires Creative Displays, the largest to date for $49 million, adding 10 new outdoor companies and increasing revenues by 50%. At this time, management restructured forming six regions.

1980

1988
Lamar forms an Interstate Logos division, diversifying operations
into another type of sign business: Contract Logo Signing.
1989
Kevin Reilly becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors. Kevin Reilly, Jr. (great-grandson of Charles Lamar) is appointed to succeed his father as CEO of Lamar Advertising Company at the age of 34.
1991
After two years in the logo sign business, Lamar wins the contract to build logo signs on interstate highways in Ohio.
1992
The Company opens Lamar Graphics, a printing division, and begins silk screening posters.
1996
Lamar makes its initial public offering, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol LAMR.
1997
Lamar Graphics begins printing digitally, using technology in place of the traditional silk screen process.
1999
After completing its $1.6 billion acquisition of Chancellor Media, Lamar becomes one of the nation’s largest outdoor advertising companies.
1999
Tobacco advertising is no longer allowed on outdoor advertisements.
2000
Lamar purchases Bowlin Outdoor Advertising & Travel Centers Inc. in a $27.2 million stock trade, acquiring displays throughout
New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
2001
Lamar installs its first digital billboard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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2002
Lamar celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.
2002
Lamar makes its debut among the companies forming the NASDAQ-100 Index.
2002
Lamar purchases American Outdoor Advertising from
Landmark Communications of Virginia, acquiring
960 displays in 11 southeastern states.
2004
Lamar purchases 611 displays in 19 states from Olympus Advertising.
2005
Lamar purchases Obie Media and acquires advertising space on 28 transit systems and more than 1,100 billboards in the Northwest region and Canada. Lamar also generates net revenues of more than
$1 billion for the first time.
2006
Lamar forms the Network Operating Center (NOC) division which monitors and supports the company’s digital billboards nationwide.
2007
Lamar introduces the use of a single-sheet 100% recyclable polyethylene (PE) printing substrate for poster panels.
2008
Lamar creates an Emergency Alert System (EAS) enabling AMBER, FBI, FEMA and other emergency alerts to be displayed on digital billboards (on the local, state or national level) within minutes of notification.
2010-2012
Lamar installs solar panels on 2,000 billboard structures in Louisiana and Florida. The systems return over 2.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) back to the grid annually. Lamar also equips over 7,000 billboard structures in Florida and Louisiana with LED lighting and reduces overall energy usage over 70%.
2010
Lamar moves its corporate headquarters to 5321 Corporate Blvd
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
2011
Sean E. Reilly becomes CEO on February 21, succeeding his brother Kevin Reilly Jr.
2011
Lamar launches RoadNinja, a free interstate travel app for iOS and Android devices.

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2012
The Company sells the production portion of its
business to Circle Graphics. The Lamar Graphics division
begins focusing on producing three-dimensional billboard enhancements in-house for clients.
2012
Lamar acquires American Outdoor Advertising, expanding its static and digital billboard coverage in and around Phoenix. In November, Lamar purchases NextMedia Outdoor, Inc. for $145 million.
2013
Lamar Advertising Corporate Headquarters wins the 2013 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Award for Interior Architecture.