Canonsburg Borough 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.
Being the hometown of pop icons Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, the Four Coins and others, Canonsburg 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 of $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 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 will be part of the selection process the following year.
The mayor is hoping to get support right away.
“We have a long way to go,” Rhome said.
How do you think America's Pop Music Hall of Fame will benefit Canonsburg?