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Saugerties earthwork celebrates 50 years

May 19, 2012 10:42 pm
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="550" caption="The monolith. Photo from Opus 40."][/caption]On Sat., May 19, Opus 40, the massive earthwork in a former blue stone quarry in Saugerties, NY, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the raising of the monolith, a giant vertical stone at the highest point of the sculpture. Opus 40 is the New York equivalent to Mount Rushmore, though in North Dakota it took a father and son team 14 years to carve the president's faces. In Saugerties, Bard Professor Harvery Fite bought the land for $200 in 1938, and died in 1976, still moving rocks into a large, maze-like structure that sets in front of postcard-like view of the Catskill Mountains. For the anniversary at Opus 40, Fite's step-sons Jonathan and Tad Richards explained the full story of Opus 40's creation, and how it weathered Hurricane Irene last fall. They also described the difficulty of raising the nine-ton monolith into place.

Click here to hear news report by Tom Roe of presentation at Opus 40 anniversary. 4:40

Click here to listen to or download mp3 recording of Jonathan and Tad Richards speaking Sat., May 19, 2012 at Opus 40, about their step-father Harvey Fite and his earthwork.

Below, the song "Opus 40" by the Hudson Valley-based band Mercury Rev.

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