New York Attractions March 31, 2016
You’ll Never Guess What’s Hiding In This New Yorker’s Back Yard. It’s Amazing.
For most of us, we grow up wanting the ultimate swing set in our backyard to play on or if we really have high hopes we long for a trampoline. But take a moment to imagine growing up and having your own gigantic quarry and sculpture park in your back yard. Sounds pretty incredible, right?
Now sitting on over 70 acres of New York's soil, the property was originally purchased with just over 6 acres of land back in 1938 by Harvey Fite.
Spitting distance from Woodstock you'll find the charming small town of Saugerties, where you can find the incredible sculpture park, Opus 40. Harvey Fite taught sculpture and theatre at Bard College just a half hour away from his home. When he bought the 6.5-acre plot it came with an abandoned bluestone quarry. Harvey's original intentions were to use the stone to create other sculptures and works of art, only to realize the true art lied within the quarry itself.
Inspired after spending time in Honduras restoring old ruins, Harvey began to turn the quarry into an incredible piece of art over the next 37 years with his own two hands.
Using techniques like the quarrymen who had worked on this property before him, Harvey used only hand tools to create all that you see at Opus 40 today. Pictured above you can see the 9-ton centerpiece of this sculpture park, although this was not the original piece featured here. After creating a piece called
Flame inside his studio, he realized after bringing it outside that it would be too small as a centerpiece. In 1960, Harvey found the pillar you see today in a streambed closeby to the property.
20 years after starting his work on Opus 40 and changing the park's centerpiece, he removed all other works of art off the main sculpture area and placed them around the property.
All throughout the property you can find Harvey's remarkable works of art that are nothing short of moving. On the property you'll also find the Quarryman's Museum which Harvey created in the 1970s to showcase quarrying equipment, tools and other interesting pieces of history.
After Harvey's death in 1976, his wife Barbara opened up the unique park to the public.
Doing what he loved most, Harvey passed away after falling while working on Opus 40. Now seasonally open for the public, you can explore this fascinating park made up of ramps, passageways and beautiful pools. Some of New York's residents have even made Opus 40 the
place of their wedding!
After the harsh weather brought on by Hurricanes Irene & Sandy, one of the walls of Opus 40 experienced significant damage.
Still in need of an excuse to come check out this magical place? Opus 40 has a list full of events coming up this spring!
To hear more about Opus 40 from Harvey Fite’s stepson who grew up on the property and had this incredible park as his backyard, check out the video below:
Have you ever spent a day at Opus 40? We’re so proud to have this amazing gem that’s full of history within our beautiful state!