Coronal Institute, in San Marcos, was founded by Orlando Newton Hollingsworth in 1868. It was a private, coeducational school and offered military training to boys. In 1869–70 the faculty was six men and two women, and enrollment was 130. Hollingsworth sold the school to R. H. Belvin on January 2, 1871. In 1875 the school was valued at $20,000. On June 26, 1875, the San Marcos district of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, purchased the school, and J. H. Bishop became president. Succeeding presidents were Rev. E. S. Smith, R. O. Roundsavall, J. E. Pritchett, W. J. Spillman, A. A. Thomas, Sterling Fisher, and V. A. Godbey. The school, chartered in 1879, reached its peak of development in 1900 with twelve faculty members, property valued at $35,000, and a library of 900 volumes. However, enrollment never grew large enough for the increased investments in the school. In 1903 129 students enrolled.
Coronal offered coursework in English, history, mathematics, Latin, German, Spanish, physiology, physiography, physics, biology, chemistry, bookkeeping, agriculture, botany, domestic science, drawing, and music. During the presidency of Sterling Fisher in the first decade of the twentieth century, the school constructed a dormitory for boys and a new main building with a girls' dormitory. The total value of the plant was estimated at $115,000. Coronal Institute was affiliated with the University of Texas and with Southwestern University. Nearly 500 students received diplomas of high school level from the time the school first granted them in 1880 until it was discontinued in 1917.
When the United States entered World War I the government rented the facilities from the Methodist Episcopal Church for use as a barracks and training ground. After the war S. M. Melton leased the property and operated it under the name Coronal Military Academy. Enrollments were low, and the project was abandoned in 1919. The main building was converted into an apartment house, and the boys' dormitory became a hospital.