The Mare of Easttown filming locations feature Marcus Hook, Fairmount Park in lead roles.
NOTICE: This story contains slight spoilers for HBO Easttown mare.
We were across from the Marcus Hook Pharmacy. Easttown mare Deputy location manager Rudi Fischer was pulling the breeze with me and Inquirer photographer Tom Gralish. We were in front of a bunch of Delco row houses, a guy smoking a cigarette on the steps of one behind us.
At the end of the street was a huge Delaware County refinery. In the other direction, the Delaware state line. And just a short drive away are plenty of spots that made their debut in the HBO series that have made Delco and its streetscapes world renown over the past two months.
The perched smoker caught our attention as many people do at Delco: blurting out an observation as if we strangers were all old friends hanging in a bar.
“This aquarium which is in the series? Cliff Light said. “I sold it at the fishmonger.”
I had found Fischer to help me identify all of the locations the show was shot in Delco, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia. Guessing the locations had been lighting up social media for weeks until the series finale last Sunday.
But instead, we were face to face at that point, in front of this random guy, with the big subplot of the series: everyone’s quality of life in Delco, which to outsiders seems impossible, exaggerated and clearly dysfunctional comfort for a Philly suburb of 560,000 people.
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Delco is a social cobweb that pulls you into someone else’s business through one or two degrees of separation every day. Brad Ingelsby (Archbishop Carroll), a graduate of Delco Catholic High School, whose vision for creating series required giving Delco and his glorious accent and assigning high billing as a character in his own right, reportedly found this poetic aquarium convo.
The tank, like the Mare-learn obsessed, was bought by Mare Sheehan for her grandson’s turtle. What you only know now, because of that gentleman on the porch, is that he was coming from a store a few minutes drive from the pharmacy in front of his house. It’s an old tank that he unloaded some time ago.
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“The owner told me,” Light said. “Me and him are friends. Aquarium World. It’s right in Aston, right across from the best cheesesteaks you’ll ever have.
Delco. Just there.
Fischer had brought me to this corner because a number of Mare scenes were shot a few blocks away. One outside the pharmacy itself. Many locations were chosen for the simple reason of their proximity to nearby Sun Center Studios, or because other scenes were filmed nearby.
A block further, we rushed into New English Style Pizza. I met the owner Chris Kolionis. He found out he was making pizza as props while filming a scene there in November 2020 when a priest character shows up to take an order for food. A subsequent dramatic scene also unfolded outside the back exit of the store’s dark parking lot.
“It was exciting,” said Kolionis, while Fischer, who helped find and manage production logistics in the store as part of his work with a team of Mare the managers, stood near one of the booths that featured prominently in the episode.
Location scout Dan Gorman was the native of Delco who put me in touch with Fischer for this column. Gorman had helped find places for Silver Linings Playbook and Creed. I wrote about him a few years ago. Of course I thought, a Delco guy like him had worked Mare.
I was wrong.
Fischer is a child of Horsham. Montco. But with a locator archive as comprehensive as a repairman’s contact list, replete with places he has found over the years in Delco and across the region.
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I asked him to point out where many scenes were shot that the filmmakers eventually agreed to use.
“The houses. Most of your two-story houses, like Mare’s house, are [former] her husband’s house, which is literally right behind her house, her best friend’s house, those houses are all in Wallingford.
“The other houses where, like, the chase goes in that first episode?” These were all in Marcus Hook, ”continued Fischer. “She’s chasing after her friend’s brother … where the older couple lived is Marcus Hook too.”
The interior of Mare’s house was built on a stage in the Sun Center, as was the interior of the police station where Detective Mare worked. The show transformed a former Coatesville train station on Fleetwood Street into the facade of the fictional Easttown police station.
A waterside scene where Mare and Detective Colin Zabel were shown talking in Episode 5 was shot on a jetty under the Commodore Barry Bridge right next to Subaru Park, the football stadium of Chester.
The decrepit building where an explosive scene took place later this episode involving Zabel was a short drive away, inside an empty building near Route 452 and Market Street off Main Street by Marcus Hook.
The dive bar where Mare met novelist Richard (Guy Pearce) was also right next to the market – the Star Hotel Bar. Scenes from a lavish party for Richard were filmed inside the library at Girard College, and the school’s Founders Hall was used for a wedding reception scene.
A gas station and convenience store that made recurring appearances on the show were in Phoenixville. Zabel’s mother’s house was on a street in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Upper Darby, near Naylor’s Run Park.
Finally, towards the season finale, a memorable scene near a waterfall was actually Wissahickon Creek near Valley Green along Forbidden Drive from Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. (A fight scene in the woods much earlier in the series was filmed a few steps away, near the Henry Avenue Bridge in Wissahickon.)
After 17 years of working on dozens of projects as a scout or site manager, Fischer said that Mare is the one beyond all the others who has brightened up his phone the most. He’s usually a bottom guy. But this show? Everyone wants to talk to him.
“I got phone calls from people I haven’t spoken to in years,” said the Hatboro-Horsham High graduate.
He told me that the out of town crew members who worked with him preparing and managing the filming locations arrived skeptical of Delco’s story in the script. They couldn’t understand that relationships between people were anything but gross exaggerations.
Then came the moment to leave. And they realized they were wrong.
“They’ve forged long-lasting relationships. … People would stop to talk to them. When they would stop inside a bar to have a conversation with the owner, people would stop and talk to them in the bar. It was as if they were known.
“It was like,” Fischer added, “they were from Delaware County.”