Building #19 horse awaits its fate

Building #19 horse awaits its fate

The life-sized horse that once stood in the entryway of Building #19 is now covered with a tarp at a store in Norwood, Mass. (Valley Breeze photos by Ethan Shorey)

PAWTUCKET - It was the epitome of what that made the old Building #19 store such a lovably eccentric place, a not-so-subtle tribute to the property's past as a racetrack and a bold representation of what it had become as a colorful bargain center.

The multi-colored horse that once stood near the door of the former store is long gone, replaced by a makeshift mannequin with a paper plate for a face. In front of that smiling face is a sign that reads "Closed forever. Thank you for all the years."

A woman who answered the phone at a former Building #19 store in Norwood, Mass., which has now been converted into another store, told The Breeze that the life-sized wooden horse from Pawtucket is at the store, covered in a tarp. There are no plans to make the horse part of the store's d?©cor, said the woman, meaning it will likely be sold off as part of the liquidation of the former Building #19's assets.

"Everything that was in the store was part of the liquidation," she said.

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The life-sized horse, which is hollow, previously had a sign above it calling it the "famous horse of a different color." At the former Pawtucket Building #19, it stood across from a wall full of old articles about the former Narragansett Park racetrack, which was previously located on the property off Narragansett Park Drive.

Representatives for the company that is in charge of liquidating Building #19's assets, Boston-based Gordon Brothers, could not be reached for comment on the fate of the horse.

Little is known about the horse other than the fact that it was "very old," according to the sign on its side that asked customers not to touch it. City officials and residents spoken to this week weren't sure whether the horse was part of the original Narragansett Park scene or came along later as a tribute to that history.

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The former owners of Building #19 sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last November, signaling the end of the line for the chain of 10 bargain stores that sold "good stuff cheap." All stores were shut down last December.

A story in the Boston Business Journal last November laid out a plan to hold a going-out-of-business sale and then sell off furniture and fixtures. According to the story, representatives for the store contacted several national inventory liquidators but none would agree to purchase all of the store's inventory.

A makeshift mannequin with a plate for a face stares at the back side of a sign that thanks customers for all their years shopping at the former Pawtucket Building #19.