Before Harvey Fite, Bluestone Quarry Used For Flagging And House Trimmings

Production on the commercial project known as bluestone begins. The land, which starts on the western side of the Hudson River and stretches southward through Greene, Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware and Broome counties, is deemed unsuitable for flagging and house trimmings. In order to make the property more viable, workers utilize sandstone compaction techniques and attempt to even out the quarry bed.

Bluestone quarries in the Hudson River Valley are small local enterprises. Workers mine bluestone with little to no mechanical equipment. Running concurrent to the establishment of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, the bluestone business sees a boom (1870 to 1910). By 1898, at least 10,000 people in Ulster County are making a livelihood off of the bluestone industry.

The Van Bramer Brothers run a large quarry on the property that will become known as Opus 40. The quarry bed is eight to nine feet thick, six feet of which are workable stone, and the balance, to quote the company, is “rubbish interbedded with the stone. There is not much variation in the quality of the bed.” Four men are employed during the year, and the only equipment used is a hand derrick.