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James Dean Memorial Park.

James Dean Memorial Park

In 1995 a small park was laid out on the northern edge of Fairmount's business district and dedicated to the memory of James Dean. Donations from many of Dean's fans, especially the family of Japanese fan Hayashi Kentaro, allowed the building of this park.

The centerpiece of the walled park is a two-meter column topped with a bust of the actor. On the front of the column is a plaque which bears this inscription:

This is not a monument to a rebel. Those were only roles he played. James Dean was an American original who on a basis of high school honors and in a period of five years time rose to the very pinnacle of the theatrical profession and through the magic of motion pictures lives on in legend.

This monument is dedicated as well to all the loyal fans who continue to come from around the world to pay their respects to Dean and Fairmount, which has become the world's 'home town'.

Early in 1955 James Dean visited the studio of artist Kenneth Kendall. His question was: Would you be interested in sculpting me? The artist began work the night the actor died.

The inscription from an ancient Greek funeral stele reads: Summer was only beginning.

A year after the dedication of the park, the local post office held a gathering to announce the release of a stamp by the U.S. Postal Service honoring James Dean. I myself was there for the announcement.

With the maturing of its trees and shrubs, the park has taken on a more tranquil look.

Copyright © 2013 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 11 August 2013.