RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Veterans and Virginians with disabilities joined Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe on Monday for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of an accessibility ramp at the Executive Mansion.
The ramp will enhance access and safety for guests.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “The Executive Mansion is the people’s house, and this ramp will ensure the most accessible and dignified welcome for all Virginians, from our wounded warriors to our disabled citizens.”
The ramp is connected to a breezeway which leads to the southern entrance on the Mansion’s first floor, the formal reception area used to welcome visitors and guests. Before the ramp was built, those who couldn’t climb the steep steps to the historic portico had to use an elevator at the basement level of the building behind the home to access the first floor.
“We want everyone who visits the Executive Mansion to feel welcome, and to achieve that goal, every visitor must able to enter on the main floor,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “Through thoughtful collaboration with architectural and preservation experts, we were able to provide enhanced access that complements the historic character of the home.”
Other Virginia historic sites have taken similar measures. At Monticello, a National Historic Landmark and the only house in the United States that is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, access to the main floor is provided via a ramp on the north side of the house.
The Executive Mansion, designed by Alexander Parris and completed in 1813, is a National Historic Landmark and is recognized on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. It is the country’s oldest purpose-built executive residence still in use today.