Fairmount, Indiana is a small, unassuming town that most people pass by without a second look. But classic film buffs know that Fairmount is the hometown of legendary actor James Dean, who died tragically in a California car accident in 1955 at the age of 24. For fans, a visit to Dean’s gravesite is a must-do pilgrimage.
The Fairmount Historical Museum provides a great overview of Dean’s life and career, with photos, one of his motorcycles, and memorabilia on display, but just a short drive north of town sits Park Cemetery, where Dean was laid to rest in his family’s plot. The simple gravestone attracts visitors from all over the world. Fans often leave flowers or mementos by the headstone, which bears the inscription “James B. Dean, 1931-1955″. Visitors can pay their respects and reflect on his brilliant but brief career that spawned just three major films – East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant.
A short drive further up S 150 E across Country Road 800 S, visitors will also see the Historic Indian Motorcycle Shop and the Winslow Family Farm where young James Dean grew up. This is all a part of the popular James Dean Trail.
The gravesite and museum provide a glimpse into the actor’s roots and legacy that endures decades after his death. Fairmount allows fans to connect with the real man behind the Hollywood legend. Each year, the City of Fairmount hosts the James Dean Festival.
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