Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. Unlike most of the locations on Dexter, this one is almost completely fake. They essentially built it on the spot, and removed it when they left.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. Like most of the main Iron Lake locations, this spot is located in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.
But the reality is that there is no incinerator and no tall smokestack in Shelburne Falls, so they had to build a fake one.
The building you see behind the incinerator is real. It is the longest building (over 300 feet long) in a center known as "The Mill at Shelburne Falls", which is located next to the Deerfield River Reservoir, at 49 Conway Street.
The center is a collection of old, colonial-style buildings, dating
back to the mid-1800's, that was originally a manufacturing center for
knives & tableware, which Is now being re-purposed to house a
variety of businesses, including artist studios.
I'm not sure what, if any, business occupies that
particular long building, but It is located in the back of the Mill center,
and is hidden behind ( north/northeast of ) smaller buildings housing the
"Lamson Factory Outlet Store" (at 45 Conway St.), and "The Handle
Factory." (at 49 Conway Street).
They built the fake incinerator / smokestack at the west/northwest end of that long building. So, in the shot of Dexter throwing parcels into the fire, the camera is looking east/southeast.
Google maps the GPS coordinates of that spot as 42°36'05.7"N 72°44'17.6"W .
And here is an aerial photo/map with the exact spot marked:
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
But I had spotted a group of old, brick buildings near the reservoir that resembled the building seen behind the smokestack, And the position of the windows on the building's west end seemed to match well.
So, at first, I assumed that they had simply used CGI (computer graphics) to artificially insert that tall smokestack into the scene.
But then, something surprising happened.
I was looking at a short scene in Episode 5 (around 35:13) where Harrison is walking near the river, and in the background, across the river, when I spotted something I never expected to see: that same tall smokestack, and the building behind it:
My next goal was to pinpoint the exact location, but that proved to be difficult, because the territory across the Deerfield River, seen in the background of that Harrison scene, is an odd arrangement which includes Salmon Falls, some historic glacial potholes, the Deerfield reservoir, and a number of various picturesque buildings (not to mention the iron bridge a short distance to the north).
As I checked it out via StreetView, and finally spotted what looked like the right building, it kept disappearing behind other buildings as the StreetView moved along Conway Street.
As it turned out, the location wasn't even actually across the river from Harrison's spot. that was an illusion caused by the fact that the River curves radically to the southeast, in an almost U-shape. The Mill center is actually on the same west side, where Harrison was walking, only much further south, where the river curves sharply. But due to the radical bend in the River, even when you are standing on the same west/southwest side of the river, you can look across the water and see another part of the same west/southwest bank, which creates the Illusion at that you are looking at the opposite side.
( To see what I mean, switch the Google aerial map above to a normal map view, and then zoom out to where you can see the shape of the River. )
But eventually, using aerial photos and drawing a line between Harrison's spot and the background view, I was able to figure it out and narrow it down to a single long building in the back of "The Mill" center.
But I still needed to verify it, to make sure I was right.
The long building itself doesn't seem to house a business yet, so I couldn't write directly to them to inquire. Instead, I first tried contacting "The Mill" center via their website, but I received no reply. Next, I contacted one of the businesses in another building In the center, near the location. But again, no response
Finally, I emailad "The Handle Factory", a local clay studio (in the Mill center) founded by Molly Cantor, a potter & pottery teacher. Her studio is only about 50 yards south of the location. Molly was kind enough to reply, confirming that they did indeed build a fake incinerator/smokestack at the end of that building.
Showtime.. All other photos & text are Copyright © 2006-2022-Gary Wayne
and may not be used without written permission.
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