From Ohio History Central
Following World War II, United States citizens experienced tremendous change. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, many Americans of all races, for the first time, had the ability to attend college. Americans, especially white ones, prospered during World War II, as both men and women found employment to aid the United States' war effort. With the war's conclusion, many workers, especially women, found their positions terminated, but families had accumulated enough wealth to leave the inner cities to move to suburbs. Improvements in transportation, the development of interstates during the 1950s, and the increasing accessibility of cars, all spurred this movement from the cities to outlying neighborhoods. Americans wanted their own homes with green grass. They were increasingly unsatisfied with apartment living, paying their wages to live in someone else's building.
As Americans moved from the cities to suburbs, business owners began to develop new retail establishments to attract suburbanites. These establishments were known as shopping centers. Numerous businesses opened their doors in a single location, usually in the exact same building or several interconnected buildings. These shopping centers usually had a wide variety of stores, including ones that sold groceries, clothing, greeting cards, and numerous other items. Banks and restaurants also commonly existed in these shopping centers. The shopping centers provided their customers with a single location to do all of their shopping, greatly enhancing the shoppers' convenience. These shopping centers quickly drew customers away from more traditional stores, as customers wanted to travel to only a single location to do all of their shopping.
Shopping malls quickly appeared in Ohio. The Town and Country Shopping Center, which opened in 1956 in Columbus, may have been the first one in the nation, although several other centers across the country claim to have been opened more than twenty years earlier. Shopping centers still exist at the start of the twenty-first century, although malls began to replace shopping centers during the second half of the 1900s.