A fine example of historic preservation in the heart of Alexandria is the Albert-Sterkx House, 1601 Jackson Street, which now houses the offices of HCOA, a Hospice Provider.
Royal Albert constructed this grand, two-story, Greek Revival house for his growing family at the turn of the 20th century in what was then a rural part of the city. In the late 1920s, Walter Wynne Sterkx purchased the home and, along with wife Rita, raised his seven children there. The home remained in the Sterkx family until recently when Thomas and Ana Cupples, owners of Central Louisiana Home Health and HCOA, purchased the property. The Cupples continued the preservation efforts begun by members of the Sterkx family, completing renovations in 2010.
For Mr. Cupples, the decision to purchase and renovate this old, stately home for business purposes was confirmed as soon as he walked through the front door. While the exterior of the home needed obvious repair, the interior of the home was treasure chest of original architectural details. Hardwood floors, stained glass windows, solid wood interior doors with transoms, and an exquisite staircase in the entry remained intact and in good condition. Desiring a building with character to represent his business rather than a plain, box-type office building, Mr. Cupples decided to tackle the rehabilitation of the structure. He successfully combined the amenities necessary to run a modern business with the rich architectural character of the past to create an office that is both inviting and inspiring.
Physical work to restore and rehabilitate the building took over one year to complete. Carpenters refinished interior wood work, while electricians rewired the building. Mr. Cupples worked with the fire marshal and the City of Alexandria to properly change the use of the building from residential to commercial, add an appropriate number of parking spaces, and make sure that the historic structure met all building codes while also retaining its original character and materials. Restored wood siding, original wood windows, and grand Corinthian columns have brought energy back to the corner of Jackson and 16th Streets. “Old structures still have a lot of life left in them,” notes Mr. Cupples wisely.
The Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission honors the Cupples and their successful preservation efforts at 1601 Jackson Street as the first recipient of our monthly Preservation in Progress award. Their investment in Alexandria’s history has returned this neighborhood landmark to life. May their work encourage further preservation progress in our community.