ONTARIO, Ohio — As I was driving on the Lincoln Highway on my way out of the Mansfield area, I came across a gigantic structure with a towering central section capped by a hat-like roof. It was surrounded by a completely empty sea of parking. There were no signs of life, but it had all the hallmarks of a shopping mall department store.
This is the Richland Mall, or at least the former Lazarus, the now-defunct Columbus-based department store chain that opened a branch here in 1958. It’s a bold design, something you can tell was meant to impressive drivers heading by on the Lincoln Highway, known locally as W. 4th Street. It caught my eye, so I pulled into the parking lot.