Addison Hutton was one of the principal Philadelphia architects of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born in Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and was a birthright member of the Society of Friends. Before coming to Philadelphia in 1857 he alternated working as a carpenter and a schoolteacher, learning architectural drawing from one of his fellow workmen in French's Sash and Door Factory in Salem, Ohio. After resuming teaching in the Fairview School, Westmoreland County, he was recommended to architect Samuel Sloan
, then a noted designer of hospitals, with whom he was associated as an office assistant and draftsman from 1857 until 1861. During that time he supervised the building of "Longwood" in Natchez, Mississippi, for Dr. Haller Nutt. In 1862 Hutton received his first known independent architectural commission, a cottage for Henry Morris to be built at Newport, Rhode Island; and by September, 1863, he was located in his own office at 400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Soon after, he became engaged to and eventually married Rebecca Savery, great-granddaughter of the Philadelphia cabinetmaker William Savery.
Hutton was so successful in his independent work that Samuel Sloan approached him in 1864 to join in a partnership, with an office located at 152 South 4th Street, Philadelphia. This association lasted until 1868 with Sloan & Hutton producing a number of designs for state hospitals, churches, and residences. Following the dissolution of the partnership, Sloan moved temporarily to New York, leaving Hutton to finish whatever remained from their office. The first of these in Philadelphia was the new building to be erected for the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society at the northwest corner of Washington Square. Hutton's firm was awarded this commission over the designs of James H. Windrim, Steven D. Button and Furness & Hewitt. Hutton completed the building without Sloan's aid and was successfully launched as an independent architect. Immediately following this commission, he designed an addition to Joshua Lippincott's bookstore on Market Street, at nearly the same time working on designs for the Arch Street Methodist Church. Hutton working independently and with various younger architects, including a short-lived partnership with John Ord (Hutton & Ord) around 1877 to 1890. Others, such as Charles L. Hillman and James Shirk, worked various with Hutton until he was joined in partnership by his nephews Albert and Addison Savery in 1904. Later William Scheetz was added to this association, and with Savery, Scheetz & Savery he completed the design for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia. In 1907 Hutton retired from active practice but continued to be listed in the firm's drawings and letterhead as "Consulting Architect." By 1910 he had fully retired.
The career of Addison Hutton spanned some 53 years; for approximately 40 of those years he worked alone, accepting residential, school, business, hotel, religious, and hospital commissions. Although he was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AlA, and in 1902 was employed as a Lecturer on Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, his participation in the Pennsylvania State Capitol competition of 1901 violated the ruling of the Chapter and resulted in his expulsion from the Chapter in February, 1902. However, Hutton successfully petitioned the Court and was reinstated by October, 1902.