“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cholame in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Tribute to a Young Man

James Dean Memorial

James Dean Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Konrad R Summers
1. James Dean Memorial Marker
Inscription.  His name was James Byron Dean. He was an actor. He died just before sundown on September 30, 1955, when his Porsche collided with another car at a fork in the road not 900 yards east of this tree, long known as The Tree of Heaven. He was 24 years old.

Aside from appearing in several Broadway plays, he starred in three motion pictures - East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Only "Eden" had been released before his death. Yet, before he was in his grave, James Dean was already a legend. Every day, somewhere in the world, at the cinema or on television, James Dean lives on. Cinema is no longer just celluloid.

Every day we find reminders that drama of James Dean is the theme that we live.

He was a youth yearning for one precious touch of warmth between parents and their offspring. He was an individual struggling in this huge land of infinite promise and many races. He was a rebel searching for that cause we must all possess. This young man, seemingly ordinary yet possessing a talent and individuality that were unique in their combination, has come to personify a generation awakened.

James Dean Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Konrad R Summers
2. James Dean Memorial
are those who feel strongly that James Dean should not be forgotten. There are some things, like the hatred that accompanies war that are best forgotten. There are others, like the nobler qualities of Man, to which this young actor directed our attention, that should be preserved for all time.

James Dean is all the more with us today because his life was so fleeting. In Japan we say that his death came as suddenly as it does to cherry blossoms. The petals of early spring always fall at the height of their ephemeral brilliance. Death in youth is life that glows eternal.
Erected 1977 by Seita Onishi.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesEntertainment.
Location. 35° 43.418′ N, 120° 17.76′ W. Marker is in Cholame, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker is on State Highway 41/46 one mile south of State Route 41, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 19215 CA-46, Shandon CA 93461, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lee Tucker Pool (approx. 6.6 miles away); The San Andreas Fault (approx. 14.4 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry for Cholame, California
James Dean Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Konrad R Summers, August 17, 2012
3. James Dean Memorial
"What is essential is invisible to the eye"

This quotation, from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince", was probably James Dean's favorite. It seemed to hold a deep and private significance for him, and he used it often - especially with those he loved.
William E. Burt
. “The town is best known as the place where actor James Dean died on September 30, 1955. Dean died one mile (1.6 km) to the northeast, at the junction of State Highways 41 and 46, when college student Donald Turnupseed made a left turn without seeing Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder approaching in the oncoming lane. On September 30, 2005, the State of California officially commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dean's death by naming State Highways 41 and 46 as the James Dean Memorial Junction. A few hundred individuals, including State officials, a Dean family member, several Dean archivists, and loyal fans gathered in at the junction and at Cholame to pay tribute to Dean. Cholame has a restaurant and a memorial to James Dean erected in 1977 by a retired Japanese businessman from Kobe, Seita Ohnishi. The monument is made of stainless steel and surrounds a tree of heaven, a Chinese sumac.” (Submitted on September 27, 2014.) 

2. James Dean’s Last Drive. This 2014 6½ minute video intersperses stills and current footage to document the drive that lead to his death. It concludes with a drag racing public service announcement starring James Dean.
(Submitted on September 27, 2014.)
A Small Token image. Click for full size.
By Konrad R Summers, August 17, 2012
4. A Small Token
This monument stands as a small token of my appreciation for the people of America, from whom I have learned so much. It celebrates a people who have over the years courageously followed the path of truth and justice, while expanding the limits of mankind with their boundless pioneering spirit. It also stands for James Dean and other American Rebels who taught us the importance of having a cause.
To all those who helped this stranger from Japan realize his dream of creating this monument, I express my heartfelt thanks - the Hearst family, which graciously made its land available for this monument; Bill Bast and Mrs. Sanford Roth, James Dean's closest and best friends, who shared their memories with me; and the people of this community, who warmly extended their kindness and cooperation.
And naturally, to all the James Dean fans who have carried his torch throughout the years, thank you.
Seita Ohnishi - July 4, 1983
James Dean Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Konrad R Summers, August 17, 2012
5. James Dean Memorial
One Mile From Marker image. Click for full size.
6. One Mile From Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on July 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on September 5, 2012, by Konrad R Summers of Santa Clarita, California. This page has been viewed 683 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on July 8, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 5, 2012, by Konrad R Summers of Santa Clarita, California.   6. submitted on July 8, 2018, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 13, 2020