For the first time since the early 1970s, the original fronts of the stores on Dewey St. are entirely visible, set back from the brick street and concrete sidewalks.

The sidewalk awnings are gone on Dewey from Fifth to Sixth streets. Workers removed awnings on the west side of the street Thursday night.

The trees were cut down at the corners of the block, giving it a wide open appearance.

Work will continue next week to remove the awnings between Fourth and Fifth streets.

If all goes as planned, the removal will be complete by March 22, the city engineering department has said.

Afterwards, a street light will be installed at each alleyway to replace the lights that used to shine from the canopy posts. Street lights on the main corners will remain as they are.

Stores are making arrangements to restore the fronts of the buildings with historical signs and cloth-like canopies, utilizing a city/state grant program that pays 50% of the costs of such renovations.

The first buildings on Dewey St. to apply for the grant funds were Hirschfeld’s Clothing and Prom Shoppe and the Dixon Building, said Judy Clark of the North Platte Zoning and Development Office.

The Dixon building is the oldest building downtown, built in 1879, located on the west side of Dewey between Fifth and Sixth. The owners are preparing to put up a large sign that replicates the original sign on the building. (see photo)

Hirschfeld’s is at the corner of Fourth and Dewey.

Bruce Furniture, the building one block east on the corner of Fourth and Bailey, is also approved for a grant to renovate the frontage, Clark said.