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Designer revives historic RVC images

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Owning a memento of Rockville Centre dating back to the late 1800s or early 1900s can cost as little as $20, thanks to a collaboration between Lost Dog Art and Frame Co. and the Rockville Centre Historical Society.

James McDonald, owner-designer of Lost Dog, located at 19 S. Park Ave., moved his shop from Brooklyn to Rockville Centre three years ago and reached out to the historical society last fall to discuss a partnership that would allow him to bring some of its images and maps out of the archives and into people’s homes as prints and framed art.

“I’ve always been a history buff,” said McDonald, who met with RVC Historical Society President Frank E Seipp to discuss his idea. “A lot of the historic images they have are stored in file cabinets and there’s some iconic stuff,” he added. “I was really intrigued with what I saw.”

Some of the images that caught McDonald’s eye were the downtown area and train station, the Fire Department’s fleet of vehicles, and a group of youngsters surrounding New York Yankees icon Mickey Mantle at the Recreation Center.

While RVC Village’s Phillips House Museum, located in a restored Victorian-era home at 28 Hempstead Ave., has been shuttered since Covid-19 hit in early March, the collaboration moved forward during the pandemic and gained traction over the summer when McDonald secured 15 images and one map.

“We knew about James’ company after reading about it in the Herald,” said Debbie Fehringer, a trustee with the RVC Historical Society. “I visited his store and am excited about what he can do. He can create great art pieces for the home.”

Fehringer said she’s hopeful the Phillips House, furnished to depict life in RVC during the 19th and 20th centuries and considered one of the finest small museums in the state, can reopen soon on weekends but has no idea when safety guidelines will allow. “We rely heavily on our annual fundraiser and we weren’t able to have it this year,” she said.

McDonald believes he is just scratching the surface on what’s available in the historical society archives. He scans each image and does some minor cosmetic work for quality purposes. He’s in the process of creating a portfolio book (18x24 inch prints) of the 15 images now available for purchase.

Print sizes offered are 11x14 up to 36x48. Unframed prints start at approximately $20, with framed starting at $40.

“This can be a win, win, win,” McDonald said. “It can be positive for the historical society, myself and anyone who wants a piece of Rockville Centre history.”