Cholame, California: James Dean MemorialThe actor met his untimely end by auto accident here.
Visitor Tips and News About James Dean Memorial
The restaurant isn't a restaurant anymore, it is a little convenience store. They mostly sell nuts -- the whole left side of the store is nothing but bags full of nuts that you can purchase and sample. There is still a bit of James Dean memorabilia like pictures and some cardboard cutouts you can purchase.[Tanya, 02/16/2008]
The James Dean Memorial is made of stainless steel, and aluminum alloy, and is wrapped around an Oleantheum tree. It is surrounded by a rock garden, and all the rocks therein come from Japan, handwashed and handpolished. The rock garden is surrounded by plaques bearing quotes from Elia Kazan- Director of East of Eden, Antoine De Saint-Exupery's Little Prince, the poet Lord Byron,Dean's former drama teacher Adeline Nall, Dean's favorite authors and Dean Himself. The monument is in the parking lot of the Jack Ranch Cafe. The actual crash site is a half mile east on highway 46, and 200 yards to the west, in the middle of a farm field. The intersection was realigned when the highway was repaved and renumbered back in 1973. The old intersection and the last 8 miles of the highway that Dean traveled are on land belonging to the State Water Department, and The Jack Ranch, and permission must be obtained to walk or drive the short stretch of old highway. The Jack Ranch Cafe offers James Dean memorabilia.[Mathew Grant, 09/16/2002]
There's a monument on the side of the road and a restaurant adjacent to it, a memorial to James Dean. Apparently this is located in the spot where he was killed in a car accident...the monument (for whatever reason) was given by the Japanese Government. Basically the only building in this tiny town (Cholame) is the monument/restaurant/gift shop[John English, 08/29/2001]
The site of the actual crash is supposedly about a mile away from the location of the monument. On Sept. 30, 1955, Dean died of broken neck when his Porsche Spyder rammed into the side of Donald Turnupseed's 1950 Ford Custom Deluxe Coupe, which had pulled out onto Hwy 466. In 1987, a small metal marker was erected on the site by Japanese businessman and fan Seita Onishi. He later replaced the marker with a big shiny "infinity sign" -- a 30-square foot reflecting sculpture under an oleander tree. The post office had some Dean memorabilia in scrapbooks, and the local diner's Dean exhibit includes the speeding ticket he received a few hours before the fatal crash.
Where the mortal James Dean became immortal. The memorial includes a large, shiny piece of aluminum wrapped around a tree. It is in the parking lot of the Jack Ranch Cafe, which is apparently the sum total of Cholame. Inside, the cafe has memorabilia and souvenirs.[Ralph Ankuda, 11/13/2000]