Development of criteria for the accessibility of people with disabilities to selected historic county courthouses in Texas
Reeves, Roderick Joseph
This thesis will examine accessibility of historic buildings for all populations. Legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), relating to the integration of the disabled population will be examined to determine how accessibility of historic structures is handled. This thesis will then develop practical measures that can be used by local communities to preserve a building while allowing it to be enjoyed by all. A community's population, including those with disabilities, has its own unique heritage; historic buildings help define this heritage. Neither a community's disabled population or its history through architecture should be neglected or overlooked. Yet, without access to a majority of these facilities, people with disabilities often miss out on the history of their community. Consequently, these buildings lose some of their value. As local residents become more aware of preserving particular sites, they need to also remember the overriding purpose of preservation. We use historic buildings as learning tools for all populations, including those with disabilities. In the past, many physical barriers within a building have limited the disabled population's ability to use these structures. This eventually caused educational and psychological barriers as well (Howard, Brehm, & Nagi, 1980). A community has an obligation not only to remember its past, but also to remember all who should be able to view it. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to collect information from local advocacy groups for the disabled and preservation leagues in Lubbock and Denton, Texas for the development of criteria that will supplement existing ADA codes. Selected county courthouses in Texas will be used as examples of how the criteria can be applied.