The dedication ceremony for the Gillette House at 718 S. Cedar St. will be held on Aug. 9. The University acquired the two-story Queen Anne-style home, valued at $404,000, as a gift from distinguished Ottawa residents Charles and Sue Gillette in February 2018.
Paul Bean, senior vice president of University Advancement, said the house was a very special gift from the Gillettes, and pointed out that it had previously been University property from the 1930’s to the early 1970’s. At that time, it was known as Sheldon Hall.
“It’s nice to have the house back with the University for student housing,” Bean said. “It will be maintained as a historical property, but will be used for student housing and small gatherings. We are deeply appreciative of Charles and Sue’s generosity, and their willingness to entrust us with such an important Ottawa landmark.”
The house has a storied history that extends far beyond the time the Gillettes owned it. It was built in 1889, having been commissioned by Herbert Franklin (H.F.) Sheldon as his family home. Sheldon wanted “a grand and dignified structure” from architect George Washburn. It was styled to emulate the chateau architecture of France’s Loire Valley during the Rennaisance, complete with stone trimming and band, terra cotta accents and a steeply pointed turret.
“It’s important to continue the heritage and history of this home, both for the city and for Ottawa University,” Charles Gillette said.
Students moved in last fall after some minor renovations. The house has four bedrooms and can accommodate eight students. Residents of the house are returning or transfer students who meet select criteria.
As an off-campus housing option, the Gillette House joins the family of residence halls offered by the University. These include Bennett, Brown and Martin halls, and two other off-campus housing complexes, University and Blue Mountain apartments.