BACKSTORY: Fairmount is located in Grant County, Indiana, approximately fifty-five miles northeast of Indianapolis. It is best known as the boyhood home of actor James Dean, who is buried there.
In the 1940s, James Dean lived with an aunt and uncle, Ortense and Marcus Winslow on a farm north of Fairmount in Jonesboro. He attended Fairmount High School, graduating in 1949. After his death in 1955 James Dean was brought back to Fairmount and buried in Park Cemetery. In 1996 a small Memorial Park north of the town's business district was dedicated to him with a bronze bust by Hollywood Artist Kenneth Kendall. A new high school was built for the district, and Fairmount High School became a middle school. When a new junior high school was opened in 1986, the Fairmount High School building was closed for good. Sadly, it has been a victim of vandalism and decay, with a large portion of it collapsing in July 2013. Dean wasn’t the only notable to graduate from the school. Garfield creator Jim Davis and retired CBS correspondent Phil Jones are also alumni.
The annual James Dean Festival takes place each year during the last full weekend in September and includes a huge Custom & Hot Rod Car Show, The Grand Parade, Street Fair, Carnival Rides, Live Entertainment, a 1950's Dance Contest, and the James Dean lookalike Contest. On September 30 of each year there is a Memorial Service for James Dean at The Back Creek Friends Church just south of The Winslow Farm.