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The James Dean Gallery, a collection of items relating to the movie star, as well as a great assortment of vintage 50s and 60s memorabilia. People still come from all over the world, thousands a year, through this picturesque small town (VERY small: it has ONE traffic light), visiting the museums and galleries devoted to his short but illustrious life and career, and who make the pilgrimage out to the cemetery just north of town where he is now laid to rest. Dean made only three movies, but turned out such remarkable performances that he was posthumously nominated for academy awards for two of them: "East of Eden," a film after the Steinbeck novel, and Giant, also from a famous novel by Edna Ferber, but not for what has become his most famous film, Rebel Without A Cause, released after his death, in 1955.

Dean was killed in September of that year, in northern California, near Cholame, up by Salinas, where he was traveling to compete in a car race. At an intersection, he was broadsided by a much larger vehicle than the tiny Porsche Spyder racecar he was driving. The driver, a 23-year-old college student, apparently didn't see him coming from the opposite direction at sunset in the tiny car. Suffering from fatal injuries, Dean survived the crash for a short time, but died en route to the hospital, the nearest one located some thirty miles away. He was pronounced dead on arrival. His mechanic, who was a passenger, survived the crash with serious injuries. Dean's body was transported back to his hometown, where he had lived with his aunt and uncle, and where he had first taken acting courses in high school, for burial.

The towns in this area of central Indiana are lovely, and well worth a visit, even if you're not all that well-acquainted with James Dean. Fairmount, Indiana, is about an hour north of Indianapolis. The fist settler was John Winslow, who cleared land on a plot about four miles north of what is now the town, in 1830. The site is the same place where the Marcus Winslow farm is now situated, where James Dean spent his childhood. The working farm is still home to Marcus and his wife: Marcus appears in several very famous photographs of James Dean, who frequently visited his home town. The first home built within town limits was constructed by John Benbow in 1831, and was completed two years later. The community grew over the next several decades, and had become a thriving town by 1850. The town was reportedly named for Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, by one David Stanfield, a prominent citizen. Their surveyor, who had just returned from visiting the original Fairmount Park, agreed. Joseph Baldwin opened a store at the corner of Main and Washington Streets in 1851, and other merchants quickly followed. In 1887, the Fairmount Mining Company was founded, which focused on natural gas extraction. The well caught fire in 1888, however, which brought some notoriety to the town, but the supply ran out about ten years later. Prominent residents since have included Dean, of course, Jim Davis, the creator of the comic strip "Garfield," Phil Jones, a CBS Correspondent, and Olive Rush (1873-1966), an artist and a pioneer in Native American Art Education.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 77 W: 78 N: 826] (1638)
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