The Americans with Disabilities Act / Historic Places
Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, there has been occasional debate over the installation of ramps in buildings that are considered to be of “Historic” significance. I majored in history in college so I have a strong feeling about altering historic sites, to make it suitable for the modern age. But I am also in a wheelchair. There are many places that I would love to visit, to commune with the past. But in order to do so, I might have to get out of my wheelchair and have a couple of friends drag my chair up the steps while I drag myself up to the top. Would I rather do that than have the place altered? I thought so, but then there are plenty of historic sites that have had additions made that were not originally there. Electric lights (the Alamo), or roads and parking lots so people can access them by car (Stonehenge). And let’s not forget the gift shops that usually carve out their own little niche nearby or inside the site itself, making it impossible to forget that this place was once the site of a future-changing event, but is now little more than a commercial undertaking. If these places, which are not only historic but in the case of Stonehenge, sacred, can be sullied by modernity in these ways without a second thought, then what is wrong with putting in a ramp in front of a building?