The mall opened in 1969 as Franklin Mall, with Troutman's, Sears and Grant City (which became Hills in 1976) as its anchors. Troutman's closed in 1984 and was sold to Pomeroy's, which in turn converted to The Bon-Ton in 1987. A 1985 expansion to the mall added Hess's and a new Hills, while converting the original Hills location to a food court and additional retail space.
In 1999, the mall was renamed Washington Crown Center and underwent a renovation. Among the changes were the addition of a movie theater on the site of the former Hess's, which closed four years prior; the conversion of Hills to Ames, and the addition of Kaufmann's as a fourth anchor. The Ames store closed in 2002 and became Gander Mountain in 2003, while Kaufmann's was converted to Macy's in 2006. In 2013, Marshalls replaced Old Navy. In 2014, Ross Dress for Less took 25,000 square feet of former specialty retail shop space. The trend of replacing small shops with big box stores continued through 2014 with the addition of Jo-Ann Fabrics, Ulta and Books-a-Million. In January 2015, PREIT announced that it was planning on selling Washington Crown Center along with four other malls.