Formally incorporated in 1799, then-borough of Greensburg was a sleepy locale until the late 1800s and early 1900s when coal was discovered in the region, and the town became an industry center and railroad stop. Today, Greensburg is the county seat of Westmoreland County, with nearly 16,000 residents. Hempfield Township, the host community for Greengate Mall, completely surrounds the city of Greensburg. Hempfield has long housed workers in the area’s steel, glass, and mining industries, but with the postwar housing boom of the 1950s and 1960s, it grew rapidly to accommodate workers commuting all over Westmoreland County as well as those traveling to the Pittsburgh area for employment.
The Lincoln Highway passes through farmland just west of Greensburg. In later years, the Greengate Mall would occupy the site.
In 1962, Northway Mall became the first enclosed mall in Pennsylvania. Located just a few miles north of Downtown Pittsburgh, it had started out as an open-air shopping center and was enclosed in a $10 million renovation by Community Research and Development, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland, whose president, James W. Rouse, wanted to develop a mall that was oriented towards suburban families. His next Pennsylvania project would take place only three years later, which would forever change the face of retailing in Westmoreland County in the form of Greengate Mall.