Hutchins Hall

The four buildings comprising the Law Quadrangle: the Lawyers Club, the John P. Cook Dormitory, the Legal Research Building, and Hutchins Hall, were constructed during the decade 1923-33 on two city blocks purchased by the University, and facing on South University Avenue and State Street. The buildings themselves were given to the University by William W. Cook ('80, '82l), of New York City (see Part V: The Law School). Mr. Cook had first planned to endow a professorship of the law of corporations, but eventually this plan was merged in the more comprehensive and munificent gift which made possible the development of the Lawyers Club and the Law Quadrangle.

With the construction of Hutchins Hall which was opened to classes in the fall of 1933, the present Law Quadrangle was completed. This building was named, in accordance with Mr. Cook's desire, for Harry B. Hutchins, Dean of the Law School from 1895 to 1910 and President of the University from 1909 to 1920. It stands on the northeast corner of Monroe and State streets with entrances on both streets. The building, which affords about 104,000 square feet of floor space, has two wings, one extending for 190 feet on State Street and the other for 230 feet on Monroe Street, with corridors running the length of the wings on each of the four floors and classrooms and seminar rooms opening from them. On the first two floors these corridors are finished in lime- faced brick with floors of sound-absorbing tile. On the first floor, extending north and east, they enclose a charming court and give access to the main Quadrangle entrance to the building, as well as to the Legal Research Building.

Constructed with a view to future expansion, Hutchins Hall has, in all, nine classrooms seating from fifty to 265 students each, and four seminar rooms seating from twelve to thirty-five students. A reading room on the second floor, with adjoining stacks to hold 3,000 volumes, is large enough to seat 220 students. These classrooms are especially well adapted to their purpose, with rubbertiled floors in various color patterns and special acoustics.

The faculty and administrative offices on the third floor provide accommodations for the dean and the secretary as well as committee rooms, general offices, and a spacious lounge. The offices on this floor all have convenient access to a staff library which is equipped with stacks for 25,000 volumes. There are also offices on the fourth floor including those of the Michigan Law Review.

An appropriately furnished alumni room on the first floor contains class pictures, beginning with the class of 1873; these are displayed on specially constructed racks. On the second floor is a practice courtroom furnished with jury box, witness box, judge's bench, and benches for sixty auditors, modeled after those found in the court of the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench in England.

The final cost of Hutchins Hall was $1,191,074.29. The final value of the various buildings of the Law Quadrangle, including equipment and books, is $8,643,370. This is exclusive of the endowment and other gifts given by Mr. Cook to the University.

As far as is known, Mr. Cook never saw any of the buildings his generosity had made possible. His only reason for not visiting the University was that it "might spoil his dream."

Source: The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey; Walter A. Donnelly, Wilfred B. Shaw, and Ruth W. Gjelsness, editors; Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1958.