Boardman Township is one of the fourteen townships of Mahoning County, Ohio, United States. The 2010 census found 40,889 people in the township. Large portions of the township constitute the community of Boardman, Ohio, recognized as a census-designated place by the US Census Bureau.
Boardman Township was founded by Elijah Boardman in the late 1780s. It is the only Boardman Township statewide. Though the northern areas of Boardman are suburban spillover from Youngstown, Boardman was traditionally an agricultural community with grain crops and apple orchards. Around the turn of the century, the railroad led to Southern Park, a horse racing facility on Washington Boulevard. Thus the area was an early draw for Youngstown urbanites.
Because of its agricultural nature, Boardman was ripe for strip development starting as early as 1950.
A mall and more
One person who made a huge mark in the area was Edward DeBartolo, Sr., who is best remembered as the father of the American shopping mall. It moved from Youngstown to make its headquarters in Boardman. After DeBartolo's death in 1994, the malls were acquired by Simon Realty of Indianapolis.
Boardman Plaza on U.S. Route 224 (west of Market Street) was one of the first strip malls in the country. Established in 1950 by DeBartolo, the Plaza had three full-service grocery stores within a few hundred feet of each other. Today one must travel at least three miles (5 km) to get the same food service. Later, circa 1970, DeBartolo opened the more contemporary Southern Park Mall, near the intersection of US 224 and Market Street.
Also around 1950, the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, one of the great steel makers in the country, opened a modern new suburban headquarters in Boardman (right across Market Street from the DeBartolo Corporation). Here, a whole new "suburban" work environment was started; with a white shirt dress code, it was antiseptic and wholly removed from the dirt and grit of the Mahoning Valley farther north.
When Youngstown Sheet and Tube closed around 1980, a nice campus was left for others to develop. Today, the former headquarters is the center of many medical offices and a branch of Youngstown State University.