Canonsburg Will Be the Home of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame

Funding needed to buy a building in town to make the dream a reality.

has a preliminary contract for a building in town that is planned to be the future home of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

Canonsburg Mayor David T. Rhome and borough Manager Terry Hazlett announced the plans Friday during the celebrating .

Being the hometown of pop icons Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, the Four Coins and others, Canonsburg, PA, is the ideal place for the Hall of Fame to be located, local officials contend. Together, the Canonsburg natives had well over 100 songs on the Billboard charts.

During his peak of popularity, Perry Como was second only to Elvis Presley—and Bobby Vinton had more Billboard No. 1 hits from 1962 to 1972 than any other male vocalist, including Frank Sinatra. 

“We can certainly lay claim to being America’s small town music capital,” Hazlett said.

Big supporters also agree that Canonsburg is the place to build the pop music hall of fame. The mayor reported that they have received two grants worth $50,000 toward the project, $25,000 each from the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency and the Greater Canonsburg Economic Development Group.

Plans for a Pop Music Hall of Fame have been talked about for years and preliminary preparation began nearly one year ago. Now the challenge for the town is to make this dream a reality and raise enough money to get the project off the ground.

The building officials have their sights on costs $165,000, so the town will need to secure funding for the remainder of the cost in the next several months, according to the mayor.

A committee has already been formed and includes citizens from throughout the community. The mayor is asking for the help from residents, businesses and organizations to get involved in helping to raise the money to make this a reality for Canonsburg to increase tourism, boost the economy and rejuvenate the small-town neighborhood feel.

“Our hope is to support tourism in Washington County, which is our second largest industry,” Rhome said. 

The concept has proven successful elsewhere in western Pennsylvania. Sharon, PA, has the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, founded by Tony Butala, a Sharon native who performed with The Lettermen.

Canonsburg is already getting bus tours to come in for the antiques, the Perry Como statue and Sarris Candies shop. The Pop Music Hall of Fame would be a big reason to get them to stay longer and stimulate the local business economy in Canonsburg.

Original ideas for the museum include a 1950s-style ice cream parlor with memorabilia, as well as music and a television studio. Hazlett also said that their plans are to induct 10 people per year, starting with Perry Como and Bobby Vinton the first year.

The committee is working with a selection panel that includes editors from Billboard magazine and nationally known DJs. The Hall of Fame inductees themselves will be part of the selection process the following year.

The mayor will be making an official announcement with additional details prior to the 7 p.m. closing act of the Hot Diggity Dog Days Festival in honor of Perry Como’s 100th birthday on Saturday. He is hoping to start getting support right away.

“We have a long way to go,” Rhome said.  

How do you feel about this news? How do you think America's Pop Music Hall of Fame will benefit Canonsburg?

Lyn Crouse May 19, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Congratulations to Terry Hazlett, who has had the vision for the Pop Music Hall of Fame for years and has worked tireless to promote it. Glad to see Mayor Rhome and others have now bought into the idea. It's a great one and will really put Canonsburg on the map.
Debbie Rieck May 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM
How about putting the Hall of Fame in the Armory -- it's for sale....
Ron Baker May 20, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I was there for Perry's 100th birthday and was dismayed to have driven 250 miles to find the only 'real' museum was at the local McDonalds restaurant. Perry and the other Canonsburg musicians deserve better than that.
Mavis May 20, 2012 at 02:55 AM
What a giant waste of money. There are so many more important and relevant things for which money is needed in Canonsburg. Having a pop music hall of fame in a town that is an embarrassment to drive through makes absolutely no sense. Why not secure money to clean up Pike Street or eliminate the metered parking so that people actually want to shop in Canonsburg? There seems to be an old school mentality in Canonsburg that is stuck in the past and can't move beyond something that Canonsburg was known for in the past. It's 2012 and it's time Canonsburg starts acting like it. Bring some things into town that will attract younger residents and possibly future residents because the people who still love doo wop aren't going to be around forever. Take a hint from Dormont and start revitalizing Canonsburg in a way that will attract today's residents and future residents or pretty soon we're going to be a town full of dollar stores with a more negative reoutation than we already have.
Jo Ann Bolish May 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I just moved here 2years ago from Penn Hills. The town is a little run down, but having a hall of fame here would help bring in stores and other things to Pike Street and other locations in Canonsburg. How can we get on the committee for this. I have lived in Pgh all my life and somewhat have that old school mentallity, but I am also wanting a little more technology. I believe what the previous comment says to a point. How can we help?
Nadeen Steffey May 20, 2012 at 01:19 PM
thanks lyn! we miss you!! and are very excited about having the project moving forward.
Nadeen Steffey May 20, 2012 at 01:21 PM
having McDonald's house the artifacts was a start.....and we are grateful to them for incorporating our local legend's into their decor.
Nadeen Steffey May 20, 2012 at 01:23 PM
the museum is planned to not only celebrate Canonsburg artists but all pop music legends spanning decades.
Nadeen Steffey May 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Contact the Main Street office, 724-745-1515, we'll sign you up!
ronald cianelli July 14, 2012 at 11:21 PM
mavis, your comments took me back to the 60s when flood control and the redevelment of pike st. were an issue. fortunately flood control went ahead but redevopment was held up about 15yrs with thinking like yours. the hall of fame is an impact project and should be supported , especially by young people like you. canonsburg is not an embarrassment--it is an outstanding small town. ron c.
Mavis July 15, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Ronald, my "thinking" is shaped by living in other thriving communities. Young people like myself (and by young, I mean middle age) "should" not support anything we don't believe is beneficial to our community. I don't see this as an impact project. These are a few things currently impacting my family: the crack house at the end of our quaint street, obscene graffiti painted on parking meters and being approached in the supermarket parking lot and asked if I have drugs to sell. Few will visit if we continue to be viewed as a seedy community by outsiders and if there's nothing else drawing them here. Perhaps if I'd lived here most of my life I might share your hometown pride, but as a former resident of the town next door and a transplant, I see it through a different lense. Again, we could learn from Dormont and the revitalization going on there due to residents insisting on addressing what impacts daily living: parks, useful businesses, cleaning up the landscape and fighting special interests. These are real impact projects which regularly draw residents from other communities. Canonsburg's plan will not improve day to day living for residents unless it generates enough money, some of which is invested in the community. I don't have faith in this happening. If there's nowhere else to go besides a museum, then there's no way for visitors to stimulate Canonsburg's economy. It's that simple. The new Dollar Store Doorway into town isn't gonna cut it.


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