Building 19

Building 19 was a chain of unique warehouse style New England discount stores that offered “good stuff cheap” for over 50 years before being forced into bankruptcy in 2013.

The store sold a wide variety of items obtained in fire sales, closeouts, bankruptcies, overstocks and customs seizures. They also sold items with small defects, “seconds” at large discounts.

The first store opened in 1965 in the Hingham Shipyard, where the warehouse buildings were numbered. Too cheap to replace the “Building 19” sign, owner Jerry Ellis instead used the building number as the business name and it stuck.

After opening a second store, Building 19 1/2 in Burlington, Ellis opened the Norwood store located in a 65,000 square foot building at 1450 Providence Highway and designated it Building 19 3/4.

Ellis used humor in signs inside the store as well as in sale circulars. The circulars had a comic book quality to them thanks to the artwork of Scituate cartoonist Mat Brown.


Signs both in and outside the store poked fun at the company, their products and sometimes even the customers.

Ellis proudly called Building 19 “America’s Laziest and Messiest Department Store.”

Part of the stores appeal was that you never knew what new thing you’d find on the shelves.


For husbands who were impatiently waiting for their wives, there was the “official husbands bench”.

The company gave away free coffee in cups that warned customers not to make fun of the taste because “someday you’ll be old and weak yourself!”.

WalMart, Target and other big retailers as well as online shopping led to a decline in sales and after a decade of struggling, the company closed all the Building 19 stores in 2013.

In 2014, the Norwood and the Burlington stores were the final two locations to close after a short period of time as rug wholesalers.

The Norwood location was purchased in 2016 by GRE Norwood LLC and turned into Extra Space Storage.

Owner Jerry Ellis died on November 11, 2017. His daughter has written a paperback all about him and the company called Good Stuff Cheap!: The Story of Jerry Ellis and Building #19, Inc”.



Raytheon Data Systems

In 1971 the Raytheon Data Systems division was created by merging the company’s information processing and display units divisions. Raytheon tried to integrate the Data Systems division with their word processing subsidiary, Lexitron, but it was unsuccessful.

In 1983, Raytheon Data Systems lost approximately $24.3 million and the division lost $6.2 million during the first four months of 1984.

Having experienced increasing difficulties in profitability, manufacturing and marketing commercial data systems, Raytheon no longer saw a profit opportunity to continue to serve the commercial data and word processing equipment markets and sold the division was sold to Telex in 1984.

1981 Raytheon Data Systems Ad

Of the 3,625 people worldwide employed by Raytheon Data Systems, approximately 1,500 worked in Norwood and 650 of them lost their jobs. At the time, Raytheon was the state’s largest employer, with 20,000 workers.

Today, Stop & Shop, Home Depot and a Chipotle sit on the former Raytheon site at 1415 Providence Highway / Route 1.

Plimpton Press Demolition and Avalon Construction

In 2015, Avalon Bay put forward a plan to build condominiums and apartments on the Plimpton Press site. (for more on the history of the Plimpton Press, please click here).

Demolition of the Plimpton Press buildings began on May 7, 2018, starting with buildings 3 and 4.

In early July 2018, demolition was started on buildings 1 and 2.

Demolition of the main building started August 13th 2018.


August 13, 2018

August 12, 2018

August 4, 2018

July 22, 2018


July 15, 2018

July 07, 2018

June 24, 2018

June 19, 2018

June 10, 2018

With Building 3 (which used to block Lenox street) and Building 4 (which used to sit against the end of Rock Street) both demolished, you can see through to the back of Star Market Plaza and up Lenox to the new Condos on the corner of Nahatan and Lenox street.

June 6, 2018

June 1, 2018

May 28, 2018

May 22, 2018


May 19, 2018

May 15,2018

May 14, 2018

May 11, 2018

Demolition of the Plimpton Press buildings began on May 7, 2018, starting with buildings 3 and 4.

April 14th, 2018 – All the windows on the upper 3 floors of building 1 are gone.

April 7, 2018- More windows have been removed.

April 4, 2018 – Work on building one has begun with the removal of the upper windows.

March 9, 2018- All the Windows are still intact and green fencing has been installed around the property.

March 5, 2018 – Plimpton Press prior to any construction.

February 26, 2018