A step forward for a historic downtown building in Joplin has meant taking a step back, into the past.

Luke and Kristen Sheafer have had new windows installed in the front and back of a building at 218 Main St. that restores its appearance to that of an earlier era.

That building, the former location of Caldone's restaurant, was purchased last year by a company involving the couple to be the new site for Frosted Cakerie, formerly at 124 S. Main St.

The owners this week went forward with installing windows consistent with the guidelines for the city's Sunshine Lamp Historic District. The windows are without grids, which historic renovation contractor Terry Donaldson said fits the guidelines.

"We are all shooting for the same goal of an authentic historic look," said Donaldson, a 1979 graduate of Joplin's Parkwood High School. He has been involved in other historic window restoration projects downtown.

The building was constructed around 1900 and originally housed a hardware store. A photo of that store is available, and the city's historic renovation guidelines consider the windows shown in that photo as the appropriate style, according to the Historic Preservation Commission.

Luke Sheafer previously told the Globe it is important to them to replace the windows because the existing windows were single-pane glass that were broken and held together with duct tape. The windows also were not energy efficient.

The couple initially looked into a city grant to help with facade restoration, but after deciding to forgo the grant, they thought they could choose the style of window they wanted. They selected a style of windows with grids and said they were not made aware they had to obtain city clearances for the style of window even if not seeking the grant.

However, concerns about the style of the windows became an issue that was referred to the Historic Preservation Commission after a Feb. 27 meeting of another city board, the Design Review Board, which denied a certificate of appropriateness necessary to get a building permit for work on historic properties. That board is composed of the city's chief building official, representative property owners of the downtown historic district, members of the Downtown Joplin Alliance and the commission.

Because the couple had already purchased the windows and could not return them, historic preservation board members were asked to make an exception or to amend the type of windows deemed appropriate for the Victorian-style building, but the requests were unsuccessful. The decision was then appealed to the City Council, which upheld the earlier rulings.

Luke Sheafer said that after the appeal hearing, "we contacted the window guy about having them amended. They amended the windows at a fee to be up to codes and now they are installing them."

Having all new windows without grids in the front and three new ones in the back of the building will help the couple ready the second floor for occupancy.

"Right now we are focusing on getting the upstairs cleaned out because it's for rent again. We have a nice space for commercial use," Sheafer said.

Donaldson said the windows had to match the existing ones that were being removed if there was no other evidence that a different style was original to the building.

He said the commission and the council made the only decisions they could.

"It doesn't lend any credence or authority to their (historic district) guidelines if they were to bend the rules," he said.

He added, "We feel that the preservation of the endeavors of our forefathers gives hope (to) generations yet to come that that their undertakings will be appreciated by generations to come. It involves a sense of responsibility to the people who came before us and a sense of benevolence that we are going to leave something that was here before us to the new generation and they can do the same."