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Mary Sparks Sterling Committed to Old Town

Posted on Jan 22,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Photo courtesy of Mike Pattisall Photography

About Mary:

One question you will never hear in Alexandria is “Who is Mary Sparks Sterling”. That’s because our featured personality this month has been spreading her southern charm and effervescence throughout Old Town for the last 29 years. Mary grew up near Winston-Salem, N.C. where her family has lived for 7 generations. After attending the prestigious Salem Academy and Salem College in the mid 70’s she came to Washington to work as a legislative assistant for N.C. Congressman Charlie Rose, and settled in Old Town to raise a family. Mary immediately made an impression on her neighbors when the team snacks she would bring to son Sammy’s soccer games were homemade ham biscuits and cheese straws. It wasn’t long before Mary became famous for her entertaining in the style of a true Southern Belle, a skill she learned from her mother, Elizabeth Sparks, a world renowned chef and author of over 20 cookbooks.

Mary eventually left the Capitol Hill scene in 1996 and accepted the job of executive director of the Historic Alexandria Foundation which was incorporated in 1954 “to preserve, protect and restore structures of historic and architectural interest in and associated with the City of Alexandria, Virginia, to preserve antiquities and generally to foster and promote interest in Alexandria’s heritage.”

Business Philosophy:
Mary’s love of history and preservation as well as her membership in the Mayflower Society lead her to work for this wonderful historic preservation society which perpetuates our little piece of heaven here on the Potomac.

Why Alexandria:
“Alexandria reminded me of the beautiful community I grew up in which harmoniously incorporates modern living in an historic background all the while keeping it a most special and historic place to live.” Mary Sterling

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