Architect: Unknown Year Built: 1904 Architectural Style: Swiss Revival
803 W. Main is a Swiss Revival house built in 1904. The main feature of the house is the half-timber detailing, or patterned stick work decoration which covers the wall surfaces and is painted red. The half-timber detailing consists of diagonal bands of wood raised from the wall surface with stucco infill. The parts of the house that are not clad with half-timber detailing are clad with wooden shingles. The house has a low-pitched hipped roof with two brick chimneys protruding from each edge. The cornice has wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters below. The overall form of the house is rectangular and the main façade is actually symmetrical. The house has wide, squat, double-hung windows which actually have decorative half-timber lintels. The main entrance to the house has an ornamental entry porch with decorative porch brackets that support the roof of the porch. The house also has a large side porch with large square posts and stick brackets which support the porch roof.
The original owner of the house was Jarius Sheldon, a state senator and lawyer who was known to have associated with Abraham Lincoln. Sheldon advocated for the location of the University of Illinios to be in Champaign-Urbana. When Mr. Sheldon passed away, his wife moved into a small apartment that was added to the house.
In city documents, the house is referred to as Piety Hill. While the origin of the name is not known, one explanation is that Mr. Sheldon made an large annonymous donation to St. Patricks Church to not install a church bell as he did not want to be disturbed on sunday mornings.