Fite Club

Although the main focus of Opus 40 is Harvey Fite's magnificently constructed bluestone environment, there are other curiosities for a visitor to explore.

In the early 70's, after he had retired as a professor at Bard College, Fite took time out from Opus 40 to build a museum to house his collection of quarryman's tools and artifacts.

The museum is a fascinating tour through the history of the area and the skills of its workingmen: quarrying equipment is represented, and so are the tools, most of them hand-forged, that the quarryman used every day for farming, blacksmithing, carpentry and the like.

It's a lot to take in at once!

And no matter where you are, this Hessian guard follows you with his eyes.

The space is filled to the brim - no surface is left bare, including the walls where tools are arrayed in pleasing patterns.

From windowsills...

 rafters - fascinating objects abound.

Apparently Harvey Fite was a man who liked to keep all his ducks in a row.

The pot-bellied stove in the corner looks well-worn and well-loved...

 do the rest of the tools and equipment on display.

Anyone know what this is?

Besides being an extraordinary quarryman, Harvey Fite was also a fine artist, and as such his sculptures have a home in the museum alongside his tools. This combination of the utilitarian with the purely aesthetic is what makes for such a unique space. This hand of Thomas Jefferson was carved from a catalpa tree which bloomed, according to Fite, for the first time on July 4, 1776.

What was once a log has been transformed into this serious fellow.

Be sure to bid David Crosby 49 bye-byes on the way out...

...and shut the door using this fetching handle.

Don't forget to turn off the light.

A visit to Opus 40 and the accompanying Quarryman's Museum make for a perfect outing. What a truly wonderful place to spend the day.