Salem Avenue and Shiloh Springs Road
Trotwood, Ohio

Greater Dayton's first mall-type shopping complexes were open-air in format. HILLS & DALES CENTER {in Kettering} opened for business in 1959, followed by FOREST PARK PLAZA {in unincorporated Montgomery County}, which began business in 1960.

SALEM MALL was the area's first fully-enclosed, suburban-style shopping center. It was situated on a 39.9 acre parcel, located 6 miles northwest of downtown Dayton. The complex was built by Maryland's James W. Rouse Company under the auspices of its Community Research & Development subsidiary.

The mall was added to a freestanding, Dayton-based Rike's, which had opened for business in 1963. The original store encompassed 1 level and approximately 112,200 square feet. In October 1966, a sixty store mall structure was completed, which was anchored by the aforementioned Rike's and a 2-level (121,700 square foot) Sears.

Charter SALEM MALL tenants included Camelot Music, East East, Spencer Gifts, Merry-Go-Round, Mayor's Jewelry & Records, Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, The Metropolitan apparel, Cassano's Pizza King and an in-mall Liberal supermarket. The Mid-States Theaters Salem Mall Cinema showed its first feature November 23, 1966.

When originally built, SALEM MALL was located in an unincorporated section of Montgomery County known as Madison Township. In May 1969, the Village of Trotwood annexed it. Over the ensuing years, the City of Dayton made several unsuccessful attempts to annex the shopping center, which, at the time, was the second-largest in the region.

A second Greater Dayton shopping mall was developed by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation. DAYTON MALL {19.5 miles south, in unincorporated Montgomery County} was officially dedicated in 1970.

A major renovation of SALEM MALL was completed in 1981. The project added a 2-level North Wing concourse that extended from the center of the existing complex to a 2-level (167,200 square foot) J.C Penney. Rike's was also expanded into a 196,500 square foot operation.

The mall's Metropolitan store, adjacent to the Garden Court, was shuttered. Its space became a Food Court, which opened for business February 28, 1985. SALEM MALL now encompassed approximately 817,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and ten stores and services.

All Rike's locations had been rebranded, as Shillito Rikes, in June 1982. In March 1986, they were branded with the (Columbus-based) Lazarus nameplate.

The eventual demise of SALEM MALL had been underway since late 1970s, although this was not apparent at the time. The mall site had been selected due to its proximity to the proposed Wolf Creek Expressway. However, the superhighway was never built and the area surrounding the mall began to decline.

By the late 1990s, SALEM MALL was on life support. J.C. Penney was shuttered December 27, 1997. Lazarus closed in early 1998. In 2002, the vacant Rike's / Lazarus building was razed and replaced by Home Depot. The 1-level (114,000 square foot) store, a so-called "shadow anchor", did not connect with the adjacent mall.

The beleaguered shopping complex had gone through a succession of owners by this time. Several attempts were made to secure new tenants. All met with little or no success. In October 2004, the City of Trotwood purchased the property. The entire center was shuttered and most of it was demolished in the summer of 2006.

Sears was all that remained. It, and Home Depot, were to be incorporated into THE LANDMARK, an open-air, lifestyle center. This would include shoppes, a 14-screen multiplex, offices, housing units, a public library, higher education branch campus and new city hall for Trotwood. THE LANDMARK was originally scheduled for completion in 2008. However, budget problems with the City of Trotwood, and The Great Recession, delayed the start of construction.

A financial scandal related to the LANDMARK deal caused the resignation of Mayor Darreyl Davis (of Trotwood) in February 2010. Another stumbling block for the LANDMARK project presented itself in January 2014, when Sears shuttered their store, which had been in business since 1966.

Comment posts by "Thanoss", "Shatzi" and "Anonymous"
The Dayton Daily News