There’s Much to be Discovered in Canonsburg

Canonsburg, Pa

By: Christine Martinsky

If you drive through Canonsburg at the beginning of July, you’ll find the whole town is lined with chairs. The chairs are reserved spots for the second largest Fourth of July parade in Pennsylvania, which runs two hours long. The day is a big event in Canonsburg, but if you’re traveling there on any other of the 364 days of the year, there’s still plenty to do.

Canonsburg is rich in history and significance. A borough of Washington County, Canonsburg is just 18 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It was home to singing sensations Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and group The Four Coins. It’s site to well known Sarris candies, John McMillan’s Log School, Roberts House, and Canonsburg Armory.

John McMillan’s Log School sits in front of Canonsburg Middle School, and is in the same general vicinity as Roberts House and the Canonsburg Armory. All three are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Log School was built in the 1780s by Rev. John McMillan, and was the beginning of Jefferson (of what would be Washington and Jefferson College) College. While you cannot actually go inside the cabin, you can view the outside of it. The situation is the same with the Roberts House.

The house was built at some point between 1802 and 1808. The house is historical because Jefferson College’s first president, John Watson died inside of the house and John Roberts ran a store on site from 1808-1815. The house was also home of William Smith, Professor of Greek. As for the Canonsburg Armory, it was built in the year 1938 for $85,548. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1989 and sold to the Borough of Canonsburg for $268,000 in 2010.

If all of the history has made you work up an appetite, swing on over to the McDonalds on Bobby Vinton Boulevard. Inside is a large display of collectibles and autographed photographs of Canonsburg’s Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and The Four Coins. The memorabilia has come from fans of the stars and is enjoyed by all.

If you’re still hungry or have a sweet tooth, Sarris Candies is a must. The business, which started in founder Frank Sarris’ basement, has been a success ever since he started. The shop today is part chocolate factory and part ice cream parlor, which according to their website, fills “an area the size of a football field with over 100 yards of chocolate, penny candy, ice cream and life-like plush toys.”

Frank Sarris has since passed away, but his family, including Frank Sarris’ son and the company’s vice-president Bill Sarris keep the company running and with Easter coming up, the stores most popular time according to Sarris, it’s a good thing. Another important part of the equation to the success of the store is the employees, who at the stores peak have up to 435 employees working, according to Sarris.

The workers turn out an assortment of products, including holiday items, favors for occasions like weddings and graduations, and their most popular candies chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter meltaways.

When asked if the business has changed since Frank’s passing, Bill replied, “His physical presence is greatly missed, however as a family business, we move forward to preserve and to continue to build the Sarris Brand. We have an obligation to our customer and to our employees to move forward and continue to produce the finest products available,” Sarris said.

Though it may be a small town, Canonsburg has a lot to offer and is a unique place. It has birthed some of the greatest stars and is home to much history. These attractions just scratch the surface of Canonsburg, as the town offers much more to be discovered.

Additional information:

John McMillan’s Log School: 25 East College Street

Roberts House: 225 N. Central Ave.

Canonsburg Armory: West College Street and North Central Avenue

Sarris Candies: 511 Adams Avenue


Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm

Saturday 9am-9pm

Sunday 11am-9pm

McDonalds: 100 Bobby Vinton Boulevard


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