The Davis School of LaGrange, a military boarding school, closed in 1890 due to an outbreak of meningitis and the subsequent deaths of several students. Luckily, Winston town leaders were able to raise enough money to bring the Davis School to Winston. The school reopened in Winston with 200 cadets in the fall of 1890. The first year commencement exercises included a speech from future U.S. Senator F. M. Simmons. By 1894, the student body included students from Brazil, Cuba, and thirty-five different states. Despite the school's growing success, the Panic of 1893 led to an economic depression, and left parents unable to pay tuition. The school closed before the second half of the term began in 1897.