Skip to Main Content

Cholame, California: James Dean Memorial

The actor met his untimely end by auto accident near here. The memorial, erected in 1977, was paid for by a Japanese businessman and big fan of Dean.

CA Hwy 41, Cholame, CA
CA Highway 41, between Fresno and Paso Robles, east of Shandon. Opposite the post office on the north side of the highway, east of Maggie's Cafe.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Visitor Tips and News About James Dean Memorial

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

James Dean Memorial.

James Dean Memorial

Driving from Paso Robles to Visalia, I decided to see the tribute to James Dean. I had no idea it was that long ago when he died -- 1955. I was only two at the time. It's a pretty nice memorial for him. There isn't much there except for a cafe next to the memorial.

[Ben from Fairfield, CA, 05/15/2016]

James Dean Memorial.

James Dean Memorial

Besides the main James Dean memorial, look for the metal dead bird that is part of the frame surrounding the large plaques in front of the main memorial. Look between the two plaques on the side furthest from the memorial.

[Kim Wheeler, 04/28/2013]

Jack Ranch Cafe.

James Dean Memorial

Drove up from Los Angeles going to San Francisco and had to stop and see the Crash Site memorial. The Jack Rabbit Cafe was actually very nice, both the people and the food. Had lots of James Dean memorabilia and a few souvenirs available for purchase.

The cafe is a few more miles down the road from the memorial. There's a sign on the side of the road. The actual James Dean junction can be busy, but definitely no so bad as to make it impossible to get out and take a photo. Really is in the middle of nowhere, but is an experience that is definitely worthwhile.

[Pat, 01/27/2010]
James Dean Memorial

Alas, but Mr. Raskin is incorrect about California State Route 41 beginning at SR 46. California SR 41 begins in Morrow Bay and ends in Yosemite. State route 46 begins in Cambria and ends at Famoso. Between Cholame and Shandon both routes share the same road.

[Greg Lewis, 12/31/2009]
James Dean Memorial

Many folks, and interestingly, some pretty knowledgeable authors and writers included, refer to the James Dean accident scene on CA Route 46 and 41 (formerly known as CA 466 when the accident took place on 9-30-55), as the James Dean Memorial Intersection. This is totally incorrect. Rt. 41 does not intersect with Rt. 46. Rt. 41 starts at Rt. 46 (which is an East-West road) heading North-east toward Fresno.

The official dedication, by the State of California, of the James Dean Memorial Junction took place on the 50th Anniversary of James Dean's death during the 9-30-2005 weekend. I had the privilege of attending this commemorative event with Marcus Winslow, James Dean's cousin from Fairmount, IN, along with State of California dignitaries and invited guests.

[Lee Raskin, 12/24/2009]

Lee Raskin tells us he's a James Dean historian and author of the book "James Dean At Speed."

Nearby Offbeat Places

Shandon ChapelShandon Chapel, Shandon, CA - 7 mi.
Earthquake Capital of the WorldEarthquake Capital of the World, Parkfield, CA - 14 mi.
Biggest Barbed Wire Collection West of the RockiesBiggest Barbed Wire Collection West of the Rockies, Paso Robles, CA - 23 mi.
In the region:
Nitt Witt Ridge, Cambria, CA - 46 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

W'eel Turtle: World's Largest, Dunseith, North Dakota (Mar 20-26, 2023)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings