A graduate of Williams College and Yale School of Architecture, Hutton was a retired architect with firsthand experience in brickmaking at the Hutton Company in Kingston, New York. In 1865 William Hutton and John H. Cordts purchased land in the Rondout area of Kingston along the Hudson River. The northern portion of the property included a prominent landmark called Steep Rocks. These were bare-faced cliffs above which were woodlots, perfect for supplying fuel for a brickyard.
On the adjacent property to the north, David Terry had already been making bricks for fifteen years. The rapidly growing New York City brick market plus the prospect of enormous clay resources made this property very attractive.
William Hutton was virtually an absentee owner, a lumber company a mile away was his primary enterprise. It was John H. Cordts who actively ran the company for twenty-five years.
In The Great Hudson River Brick Industry George V. Hutton wrote: “The U.S. Census of 1870 shows the Cordts and Hutton yard off to a fast start, making ten and one half million bricks with six steam-powered brick machines, thereby making this one of the largest-volume manufacturers on the river.”
In 1873 Cordts built his own mansion–Edgewood Terrace–on a hill above and to the south of the brickyard. A real estate listing described its glory: “Majestically sited on 13 acres above a broad bend in the Hudson River, Cordts Mansion John Cordts retired in 1887 and died in 1891. From 1890 until 1965 the business was known at The Hutton Company.
William Hutton became sole owner and president until his death in 1897. The business was then incorporated and run by six family stockholders. Son, George, was the company’s treasurer and secretary until he died in 1920. His younger brother, Robert Kerr Hutton, became president. In 1965 the company was sold to the Jova Mfg. Co. They sold it to Terry Staples in 1970 and it closed in 1980.