Mysteries filter through HBO’s new limited series Mare of Easttown like water through a sieve. What happened to Katie Bailey (Caitlin Houlahan), who has been missing for over a year? Will the identity of the ferret-like peeping Tom ever be revealed? Who is the real father of Erin McMenamin’s (Cailee Spaeny) baby? And the mystery at the center of it all: Who shot Erin and left her to die in the middle of a creek bed? While watching, I also couldn’t help but wonder where the split-level home belonging to Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) could be found. Thanks to a location-loving friend who managed to track it down, that particular Mare of Easttown mystery, at least, can be put to bed.
The seven-episode Craig Zobel-directed limited series, which debuted April 18, centers around Mare, a high school basketball star turned detective sergeant who lives and works in Easttown, a fictionalized version of an actual Philadelphia suburb said to be in Delaware County, aka “Delco.” (The real Easttown is actually in Chester County.) Two episodes in and it’s already garnering rave reviews, with AV Club claiming Mare “hits the gas and delivers one of the year’s best cliffhangers” and Vulture deeming it “the kind of television that’s worth your time.”
As the title suggests, Easttown plays an important role on the series, which is by design. Creator-writer-executive producer Brad Ingelsby is a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, and set out to tell a story about his hometown. In the “Welcome to Easttown” behind-the-scenes featurette, he explains, “Easttown is a mixture of a number of different towns in Pennsylvania around where I grew up and I wanted the show to be about a certain place in the world, a certain group of people. These people have been born here, they’ve been raised here and now they’re raising their children here.”
While portions of the series were lensed in the real Easttown, several different neighborhoods were stitched together to portray the township’s fictionalized onscreen counterpart. As Ingelsby told Philly Mag, “We did shoot some of the show in Easttown, as well as in Coatesville, Aston and Drexel Hill, but we really captured more of a blue-collar vibe than you get in the real Easttown.”
For the house where Mare lives with her mother, Helen (the always brilliant Jean Smart), teen daughter Siobhan (Angourie Rice) and young grandson, Drew (Izzy King), the production team zeroed in on a traditional bilevel at 705 Blue Hill Road in Wallingford, an unincorporated Delco community about 10 miles outside of downtown Philadelphia. Built in 1967, the modest 2,243-square-foot home stands on a short, sleepy one-block street consisting of 10 similar-looking brick and clapboard residences. With four bedrooms and three baths, the dwelling last sold in March 2015 for $360,000.
Interior amenities include two fireplaces, hardwood flooring throughout, a formal entry with marble tile, and a family room with a wet bar and built-ins. Perhaps the home’s most unique feature, though, is what the 2015 listing describes as a “martini porch,” an enclosed upper-level veranda situated just off the kitchen, where it is assumed one can comfortably sip libations of the shaken-not-stirred variety.
The yard, measuring in at 0.34 acres, is quite bucolic with a large expanse of grass, a slate patio and a dining deck.
Mare of Easttown makes considerable use of the residence. Both the front and rear façades appear throughout “Miss Lady Hawk Herself” and “Fathers,” the two episodes of the series to air so far.
Only the exterior of the home is featured on the show, though. Interiors were filmed on a soundstage-built set created by production designer Keith P. Cunningham about 4 miles away at SunCenter Studios in Aston. While the entry of the onscreen pad was modeled after that of the actual house, the rest of the set does not resemble 705 Blue Hill Road in layout or design.
The living room of Mare’s home opens to a large kitchen, but the living room of the actual residence instead opens to a formal dining room. And while the actual house and its onscreen counterpart both boast eat-in kitchens, the two spaces by no means resemble each other.
The set did take a couple of minor cues from the real residence’s schematic, including the white-mantled brick fireplace that lines the rear wall of Mare’s living room, which is a match to that of 705 Blue Hill Road.
As depicted on the series, the home belonging to Mare’s ex-husband, Frank Sheehan (David Denman), is situated directly to the rear of hers at 16 Berkshire Dr. (“Of all the houses he could move into, he has to buy the one right behind mine!”) And the two properties do, indeed, share adjoining backyards, which certainly plays into the tension of the couple’s strained relationship, especially as Frank’s dark secrets begin to reveal themselves.
So while it’s “case closed” on the location of both Mare and Frank’s houses, another mystery surrounding the show is currently working its way forward — whether or not there will be a season two. And even Ingelsby isn’t sure of the answer to that one. As he told Philly Mag, “We definitely approached this as a one-season show, and Kate signed on to do one season. And the story is very much one season, with a clear beginning, middle and end. But if people absolutely love the show and want to see more, that’s a high-class issue to have. And I guess we’d have to go back to the drawing board.” As with all the Mare of Easttown mysteries, only time will provide an answer.
This story first appeared on Dirt.com, which features additional photos.