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  • Marshall Schurtz

Exploring Rob McElhenney’s Childhood Home: Location, TV Appearances, and What It Looks Like in 2024


A wide shot of Mac's Mom's house from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Rob McElhenney's Childhood Home in Philly


Rob McElhenney is one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated hometown figures. He made his mark as the creator of the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” The show draws on many of his experiences growing up in South Philly and takes inspiration from the people he grew up with. 


Of course, the millions of fans of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” are interested in the early life of young Rob in South Philly and the neighborhood he grew up in. His childhood home was not only the spot where he experienced the wild characters of Philadelphia and grew up, but eventually became a character in his TV shows. 


Over more than four decades the home appeared not just in Rob’s life but also in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Welcome to Wrexham. This blog discusses the early history of Rob McElhenney, the house’s cameos, its location, and current status. 


Rob’s Early Life and Family Background


Rob McElhenney was born in 1977 and grew up in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia. Pennsport is a neighborhood of South Philly, located nearby to infamous South Street and bounded on one side by the I-95 highway. When Rob was young, the area was predominantly Irish. He has spoken about how, as a child, he was only allowed to travel three blocks in any direction from his house.


The headline moment of McElhenney’s early years was almost certainly his parents’ divorce. When he was 8 years old, his mother Helena came out as gay. That inevitably led to his parents' separation and his mother moving out of the home. But fortunately his mom moved not too far away, to South Jersey, and met her partner and eventual wife


Despite the separation, Rob has spoken about how his parents kept on good terms and how he considers himself lucky to have two families of loving parents.


Rob grew up in a large, blended family, including a younger and older stepsister, a younger sister, a younger brother, and a youngest half-brother. In addition to that large family, he kept the company of many Philly folks as friends. Some of them even made their mark by giving their names to It’s Always Sunny Characters, like his best friends Dennis & Dennis. 


Later, he went to high school at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School (St. Joe’s), a Catholic School in the north of the city. Close watchers of It’s Always Sunny will notice that The Gang in Season 1 mentions how they went to high school at St. Joes, just like Rob in real life. 


Rob's Home in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Rob McElhenney's home in South Philly is not just where It’s Always Sunny’s show creator lived and learned about Philadelphia, it also appears as a real-life location in the TV show. In a bit of reality overlapping with fiction, Mac’s Mom’s house is the same house as where Rob grew up (and where his mom lived for part of his life). Both the character’s childhood and the actor’s overlap with the exact same home.


The house first appears in Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom ("Season 2, Episode 5") as the infamous porch scene where Dennis tries to bang Mac’s mom in retaliation for Mac banging his mom. Dennis walks up to Mac’s mom on her porch while she is watching TV but rejects Dennis. This all takes place while Dee and the Waitress are watching Dennis from across the street. The shot from their car shows off all of the front of the house and the street it’s on. This scene was originally shot in 2006, after the first season had aired. 


It also appears in these episodes:


  • Season 3, Episode 10 ("Mac is a Serial Killer"): Where Frank and Charlie speculate about if Mac could be a serial killer and investigate his childhood belongings.

  • Season 3, Episode 11 ("Dennis Looks Like a Registered Sex Offender"): Mac puts a bow on his mom as a present for his dad getting out of prison.

  • Season 5, Episode 13 ("A Very Sunny Christmas"): Mac and Charlie dig through Mac’s childhood toys to find a robot.


In Season 6, Episode 6, Mac’s Mom burns her house down and then moves in with Charlie’s Mom, ending all references or shots of Rob's real-life childhood home.





 

Want to Explore The REAL South Philadelphia?



Take "The Gang Goes to South Philly" Tour to see famous filming locations from your favorite show!


 

"Welcome to Wrexham" and The Home’s Reappearance 


Rob McElhenney’s childhood home makes one final appearance on television on his show “Welcome to Wrexham.” But this time, the house plays itself. 


"Welcome to Wrexham" is a documentary series that follows the Welsh Football Club Wrexham AFC after Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds buy the team. The show details the challenges and triumphs faced by the oldest football club in Wales as it strives to get promoted out of the bottom of British football. In the show, Rob and Ryan learn about the culture of Wrexham as they supercharge the team with star power. 


In the opening scene of the first episode of the show, Rob, his dad, and one of his sons go to visit Philadelphia to highlight his upbringing in a blue collar town and why he was so drawn to Wrexham. The three McElhenney’s go visit the home, exploring the seemingly abandoned rooms. There is a funny interaction where Rob’s son says he’d like an old iPod dock (and the broken iPod in it). They likely visited the home sometime late 2021 or early 2022.


That home is a far cry from the luxurious house that Rob and his wife Kaitlin Olson live in Los Angeles. Sometimes shown on “Welcome to Wrexham,” that house has a massive glass door that separates their backyard from the main living space. Plus, there’s a small guest house in the back that’s made to look like a log cabin to remind Rob of his childhood in Pennsylvania.




The Home Today: Location and Status


The home’s address is 1406 E Moyamensing Avenue in the Pennsport neighborhood of South Philadelphia. It’s located near the intersection of Dickinson Street and Moyamensing Avenue. But, what remains of the house since its appearances on both television shows?


The status of the house through time: 





It is not exactly clear when the house left the McElhenney family but the earliest record of ownership in Philadelphia public records is it being sold in 2001 (and the owner is unrelated to the McElhenney family). 


The main filming scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia took place sometime in 2006. At that time, the home was not registered for rent, so the owners may have been living in it at that time. Starting in 2008, it was licensed for rentals. 


Jumping ahead, the building was sold in March 2022 to a real estate development LLC. That month, the company issued permits that would completely transform the building and destroy the exterior that appears in the TV shows.


A shot of the construction progress on 1406 E Moyamensing in 2024
The status of the 1406 E Moyamensing in March 2024

In 2024, the house has been completely transformed and is unrecognizable. The original driveway is now an entire house, with a garage. That structure is built over the original home, preserving just a small part of the structure (likely for permitting reasons). 


Sadly, while It’s Always Sunny fans and visitors to Philadelphia can no longer see the home of the show’s creator, the Always Sunny Tour provides opportunities for you to see many other famous spots from the show’s filming. Book your spot today!


 

Want to Explore The REAL South Philadelphia?



Come on "The Gang Goes to South Philly" Tour to see famous filming locations from your favorite show!


 


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