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Our History

The History of Frank Sarris Public Library

With its rich history steeped in education thanks to Washington and Jefferson College, it’s no surprise that a library in Canonsburg dates back almost as early as the town itself. 

There have been many incarnations and buildings over the years, and the Greater Canonsburg Library Association, which many of us are familiar with, wasn’t formed until 1958. We were housed in the Borough Building on Pike Street from 1964 until 2011 when we moved into our new building and became the Frank Sarris Public Library.

As time and technology have evolved, our needs have also changed. 

We are no longer simply a space to research and check out books. We are now a full community center, complete with an art gallery, genealogy room, public computers, an engaging children’s space, meeting rooms, and more. The community comes to the library to watch movies, paint, craft and game. With this, our need for funding and support has also grown.

Our current library boasts 60,000 items – including books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, and research materials housed in 30,000 square feet. We are also a WAGGIN network member, comprising 20 libraries in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties. If we don’t have an item you are looking for, and it is within the WAGGIN system, we can have it delivered to our library so that you don’t have to scour the area trying to find it. In addition, WAGGIN offers the ability to renew and reserve books online – without leaving your home.

The Frank Sarris Public Library is open six days a week. We also have public computers, faxing, document scanning, and self-serve photocopying. Our library also has free public wifi inside our building and outside in our parking lot.

Stop in; we are looking forward to seeing you and serving you!

Frank Sarris

Who was Frank Sarris?

Sarris Candies, known for its superior rich taste, adherence to high-quality standards, and exceptional customer service for over 50 years, has evolved into the epitome of the American dream.

You might say it all started when Frank Sarris found a sweetheart. As a young man trying to win the affection of the lovely Athena, Frank presented her with a gift as sweet as she was, a box of chocolates. Athena’s face lit up as she lifted the lid, and Frank knew he was in love. He also knew he could make better chocolate.

Frank began by producing small amounts of chocolate in the basement for friends and family, and then as word spread, he began making more and more for the local market. Frank and Athena married soon after, and Sarris Candies was born in the basement of their Canonsburg home.

Working as a forklift operator by day and candy maker by night, the son of Greek immigrants realized that one or the other, his candy enterprise or his career, had to end. Thankfully for the thousands of “sweet-tooths” that enjoy Sarris chocolate, Frank Sarris quit his job and started stirring batches full time.

By 1963, Frank had outgrown his basement and built a small candy shop next to his house. Five years later, the house was demolished to make room for an even bigger candy shop, and he and his wife, Athena, settled into an apartment above the store.

Over the years, Frank never forgot the quaint soda fountains of his youth, which sold ice cream and penny candy. In 1982, with the help of his son Bill, he created his old-fashioned ice cream parlor, complete with period-style, red, and brass booths and shimmering crystal chandeliers.

Thousands of people come from miles around to sample sundaes and other cool treats made with Sarris’ homemade ice cream and toppings each year.

Many family members have helped to build the business into the chocolate empire that has become a Canonsburg landmark. Today, the Sarris Chocolate Factory and Ice Cream Parlour in Canonsburg cover an area the size of an entire city block, with over 100 yards of chocolate, penny candy, ice cream, and life-like plush toys.

Though Frank Sarris passed away on March 1, 2010, he and Athena’s love story lives on, and with one taste of Sarris Chocolates, you’ll fall in love, too!