Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra are looking for a good home.
Organizers of the first Pop Music Hall of Fame, which already inducted these iconic singers and a couple dozen others, are still hunting for a location in Washington County to house the museum.
Some Canonsburg residents were alarmed when they noticed a Hall of Fame window display on Pike Street was recently removed. Terry Hazlett, executive director of the Hall of Fame, said the building was never meant to be a permanent spot for the museum, but it was being used for promotional and storage purposes.
He said the lease for the Canonsburg building ends this fall, and the Hall of Fame board decided not to renew it because renovating the building for long-term use would be too costly.
Canonsburg – the birthplace of pop stars Bobby Vinton, Perry Como and the Four Coins – seemed a natural spot for the Pop Music Hall of Fame to be located. But Hazlett said there just isn’t enough space in Canonsburg, and the board is now looking elsewhere in the county.
“The whole point of the Pop Music Hall of Fame existing was because around 200 hits on the pop music charts came from Canonsburg artists,” Hazlett said. “We’re still willing to have it there. That is the optimum place to have it, but it’s probably a very small chance that it will be in Canonsburg.”
Hazlett said the board was in talks with The Meadows Casino for a potential property lease until it was purchased by another company in May. He said The Meadows was interested in collaborating with the hall to host shows in the museum’s theater, which would be part of the building plan. In addition to a theater, the hall would have two wings for music displays, including space for rotating exhibits.
“We were talking about a 2,000-seat theater ... We all thought the hall of fame could be that niche for The Meadows,” Hazlett said.
While the potential is still there, the discussion is currently on hold due to the change in ownership at the casino.
“At this point, I’m still confident that we’re going to get a building in Washington County,” Hazlett said, “and that we’re going to (accomplish) our goal, which is to bring in about 500,000 people a year.”