In the early 1970s, after he had retired as a professor at Bard College, Fite took time out from Opus 40 to build a museum to house his diverse collection of quarryman’s tools and artifacts. During the 19th century, quarrying was a major industry in the area. Bluestone was used for curbing and paving, crosswalks, doorsills and windowsills, most of it going to New York City. 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 tools, most of them hand-forged, that the quarryman used every day for farming, blacksmithing, carpentry and the like, Furnishings from a quarryman’s household are also on display – a stove, cupboard, even a handmade game of dominos.
To create Opus 40, Fite worked with traditional quarryman’s tools: hammers and chisels, drills, crowbars, and a huge boom equipped with a hand-powered winch and a flat wooden tray for moving rocks. He worked alone, using hand tools, for most of 40 years, and his museum honors the indigenous tools of our area, and the men and women in honor of whose lives and work he created Opus 40.
“A highlight of our visit was Opus 40. It is a place to visit in any season.”
Car & Travel Magazine – AAA New York, July 2011