"In 1888, when the Northwestern Military Academy opened in Highland Park, locals thought a boys' military academy would cause problems in town. Just the previous year, the U.S. Army post Fort Sheridan had opened on the town's doorstep with fears of drunken brawls (which never were a problem).
The animosity for the academy was reflected in the children's taunts as they called the new cadets "Dead Cats."
The academy was founded by Harlan Page Davidson (1838-1913), a graduate of Norwich University, a military college in Vermont. Harlan purchased Highland Hall in Highland Park and renovated it for his academy in which he strove to provide a good education, military discipline and structure, and moral training. The cost to attend was $400 in 1888, and by 1908 had risen to $600 with enrollment averaging about 50 cadets per year.
The first Northwestern Military Academy building was built as the Highland Park House hotel in 1873 at St. Johns Avenue and Ravine Drive. In 1876, it began to be used as an educational institution for young women during the summer and was known as Highland Hall. Harlan P. Davidson purchased the building in May 1888 for his military academy.
When the academy was destroyed by fire only a few months after opening, on November 1, 1888, the people of Highland Park set aside any misgivings and made meals for the cadets and opened up their homes to the displaced boys. Rebuilding of the academy progressed rapidly and not one day of classes was missed.
The academy's second building was designed by William W. Boyington and completed in 1889. It was made of brick and able to accommodate 75 cadets.
By the 1890s, the academy's reputation had made it possible for many cadets to be offered direct admission to colleges and universities.
By 1908, the academy offered naval encampments in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and in 1911 officially became a military and naval academy. After another fire in the academy's main building in 1915, the school moved permanently to Lake Geneva.
In 1996, the academy merged with St. John's Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, and together are known as St. John's Northwestern Military Academy."
-This summary was provided by the Lake County Discovery Museum. For further information and images that accompany this summery, please see the link below.