The metal canopies that cover the sidewalks in the downtown business district were constructed in the spring of 1971 by contractor H. Ernest Nichols of Nichols Building Supply Inc. The winning bid of $42,000 appears to have been a frugal investment as the block long feature is still revered by visitors after standing 40 years. A group of community leaders along with the editor of The Oberlin Herald sought the help of graduate students in the school of architecture at Kansas State University to come up with a design that brings a cohesiveness to the downtown businesses along Penn Avenue. The canopies have large globe lights that shine on the brick streets at nightfall and are inviting to visitors and locals alike who want to take a quiet stroll on a warm summer’s night.
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