I was raised in Fairmount, which is a small rural town in the heart of Indiana. Most fans of the legendary old Hollywood actor James…
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I was raised in Fairmount, which is a small rural town in the heart of Indiana. Most fans of the legendary old Hollywood actor James Dean may not realize that it's a fairly quiet, small, typical country town, which is due to their preconceived notion that Fairmount is some sort of a shrine to their hero. However, other than a few small markers, there really aren't many signs that "Jimmy" (as locals refer to him) was ever even a presence there. Many fans expect to see highly visible neon lights announcing that you've arrived into James Dean's hometown, but they're met with only a single, lonely stoplight swaying somberly in the middle of town. Coincidentally, the small light is one of the most photographed landmarks by visitors because it hangs in the intersection which is seen in the background of a famous photo taken by photographer Dennis Stock. In the famous photo, Jimmy is seen casually strolling down the road (Washington Street) with the famous Citizens' Exchange Bank, as well as the stoplight, visible behind him. This is a testament to one of the things that I love about Fairmount; While a neon light announcing the arrival into, and the relevance of, Hollywood legend James Dean's hometown might be expected (and justified) by out-of-state fans, it's the simple small light that properly identifies my small, humble hometown... just as it identified Jimmy.
After all, James Dean didn't make Fairmount, Fairmount made James Dean.
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