Hutchison History


The original location of Hutchison school founded by Mary Grimes Hutchison

Hutchison School for Girls sits on 52 acres of land, including a farm, pond, and classrooms for all ages, conveniently located at 1740 Ridgeway Road, Memphis, TN. It is impossible to imagine a time where the unique culture of Hutchison was confined to a single residential home. In 1902 Mary Grimes Hutchison possessed a passion for girls’ education in Memphis, which inspired her to found Hutchison. Twenty-three years after Hutchison opened its doors, enrollment skyrocketed, and Hutchison became one of the leading all-girls college preparatory institutions. As Hutchison continued to grow, so did the campus.

Hutchison moved from its original location to a 3.65-acre lot located at 1925 Union Avenue. This move illustrated the massive growth and expansion Hutchison accomplished in under twenty-five years. While this move to Union Avenue allowed the school to expand and advance, Hutchison soon grew out of this location. As Hutchison continued to grow, so did the need for a permanent campus to allow the school to expand and have room to develop.

After years of dedication to Hutchison, Mary Grimes Hutchison retired in 1954, and Dr. and Mrs. W.R. Atkins purchased the school. They discovered an undeveloped piece of land off of Ridgeway Road. This purchase began the construction of the school everyone knows today. The move allowed for the creation of the Abstein Center, a building dedicated to early childhood education, and the creation of the Weiner Theatre, a representation of Hutchison’s deep passion for the arts. Lastly, this purchase created an opportunity for students to learn and grow on a campus that could adapt to anything. In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hutchison’s unique campus allowed for the creation of functional outdoor classrooms and mixed-use yurts. This is just an example of one of the many ways Hutchison’s campus is adaptable under unique circumstances. Although Hutchison has been on Ridgeway Road for over 40 years, the school’s spirit began in a house under the direction of Miss Hutchison, who had a passion for education.

Hutchison is known for many things, but Labry Hall will always have a special significance to upper school students. Labry Hall is home to the upper school common areas, Sanders Auditorium, the majority of the upper school classrooms, and a lifetime of memories. On the first day of every new school year, upper schoolers burst through the doors of Labry and enter a frenzy of excitement radiating from students and specifically the senior class as they carry out their first day of school traditions. Chloe Brown, class of 2023, reflects on the feelings of “excitement and happiness” that come from Labry on the first day of school and every day.

Chloe believes “Labry offers such a welcoming environment to students and the first day activities in Labry always set a positive tone for the school year.”

Virginia Baird, Upper School Latin Teacher, has been teaching at Hutchison for 36 years. When she began teaching, Labry Hall had not been constructed, and the Upper School classrooms were located in what is now the current middle school. Over the years, she has seen Hutchison undergo many changes; she says, “anything you can think of at Hutchison has changed over the years.” When asked to describe Hutchison using one word, Ms. Baird says Hutchison can be described as “exuberant.”

Hutchison School processes a unique history and has experienced extensive growth throughout the years. Although the campus has changed and moved, Hutchison’s ideals and goals have never wavered. In 1902 Mary Grimes Hutchison had a goal to educate young women, and 119 years later, that goal is still a reality.