Mayor of Kingstown: Is Anchor Bay a Real Prison?

Michael “Mike” McLusky’s efforts to maintain peace and order in Kingstown start inside the walls of Anchor Bay, a prominent prison in the region, in Paramount+’s crime thriller series ‘Mayor of Kingstown.’ After the prison riot in the first season’s final episodes, he sends a group of gang leaders to Anchor Bay to negotiate and implement peace for the sake of the town. As chaos continues to affect the region, the prison remains at the heart of almost all the concerns that keep Mike awake at night. In reality, Anchor Bay doesn’t have any connection with the state of Michigan, but the walls of the property have witnessed more inmates than what we see in the show!

The Real Prison That Became Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay is a fictional prison, just like how Kingstown is an imaginary town in Michigan. Having said that, a real prison stands in for the one in ‘Mayor of Kingstown.’ The prison we see in the crime thriller is Western Penitentiary, located at 3001 Beaver Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The establishment is presently known as the State Correctional Institution. The penitentiary was opened in 1826 but moved to its present location only in 1882. It was operational until 2017. Infamous convicts such as George Feigley, an alleged sex cult leader, and the Russian-American anarchist Alexander Berkman were imprisoned in Western Penitentiary.

Western Penitentiary is a prominent filming location in Pittsburgh. Productions ranging from Robert Mitchum’s ‘Going Home’ to Netflix’s globally renowned crime series ‘Mindhunter’ were shot in the prison. The arrival of ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ further increased its popularity. “We’re really fortunate that SCI Pittsburgh exists, with all the history that’s there, with those walls that are three feet thick, with the guard towers that still exist,” Dawn Keezer, executive director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, told WTAE. “It was really fun to walk them in there and have one of the producers jump up and down in the middle of the yard and go, ‘This place is amazing! Right?'” Keezer added.

Considering Anchor Bay’s significance in the narrative of ‘Mayor of Kingstown,’ Western Penitentiary is one of the most significant filming locations of the series. That’s also the reason why the admirers of the show have been worried about the fate of the establishment. Pennsylvania Department of General Services has plans to demolish the closed-down penitentiary to redevelop the place as an industrial hub that can create more jobs in the city. “It’s very clear the community really wants it to disappear. They want it completely demolished. And from the film industry perspective, what we’d really like to do is be able to use it to the day it’s no longer there,” Keezer said in the same WTAE interview about the predicament.

If Paramount+ renews the crime thriller for more seasons, the existence of Western Penitentiary with all its glory may turn out to be a necessity for Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon to shoot the series in Pittsburgh.

Read More: Who Is Allison in Mayor of Kingstown? Will She and Mike End Up Together?