History of Shopping Malls: The 30s-40s
But many experts
consider Highland Park Shopping
Village in Dallas, Texas developed
by Hugh Prather in 1931, to be the
first planned shopping Mall.
LikeCountry Club Plaza, its stores were
built with a unified image and
managed under the control of a
single owner, but Highland Park
occupied a single site and was not
bisected by public streets.
storefronts faced inward, away from
the streets-a revolutionary design.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Sears
Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward
set up large freestanding stores, with
on-site parking, away from the Malls
of big cities.
was inaugurated at Town & Country
Shopping Mall in Columbus,
when developer Don Casto
hired Grandma Carver (a woman who
dived from a 90-foot perch into a
4-foot pool of flaming water) to perform
her act in the lighted parking lot,
bringing shopping Mall promotion
to a new level.
Shopping Malls have
existed in some form
for more than 1,000
years as ancient market squares,
bazaars and seaport commercial
The modern shopping Mall,
which includes everything from small
suburban strip Malls to the millionsquare-
foot super regional malls, had
its genesis in the 1920s.
The concept of developing a shopping
district away from a downtown
is generally attributed to J.C. Nichols
of Kansas City, Mo.
His Country Club
Plaza, which opened in 1922, was
constructed as the business district
for a large-scale residential development.
It featured unified architecture,
paved and lighted parking lots, and
was managed and operated as a
In the later half of the 1920s,
as automobiles began to clog the
central business districts of large
cities, small strip Malls were built
on the outskirts.
The Malls were
usually anchored by a supermarket
and a drug store, supplemented by
other convenience-type shops. The
typical design was a straight line of
stores with space for parking in front.
Grandview Avenue Shopping Mall
opened in 1928, included 30 shops
and parking for 400 cars.