Davis & Elkins College was established through the influence and efforts of Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen Benton Elkins, two United States Senators who were responsible for building the first railroad into the area. In 1901, the Senators donated land and money to establish a college and academy associated with the Presbyterian Church. Their gift was matched by donations from the citizens of Randolph County and the Presbyteries of Lexington and Winchester, Virginia. In 1902, the College's Board of Trustees met for the first time. The first classes were held on September 21, 1904.
The original campus was located in south Elkins on a plot donated by Senator Elkins. Later, a gift of property from Mrs. Hallie Davis Elkins, who was the daughter of Senator Davis and the widow of Senator Elkins, prompted the move of the college to its present location in 1926. This property included her home, Halliehurst, and the surrounding estate. In 1941, Senator Davis's original estate, which included Graceland and the lands adjacent to Halliehurst, was acquired for the College.
Since its move to the old "Halliehurst Farm," the physical plant of Davis & Elkins has expanded to include 22 major buildings on a 170-acre campus. From the beginning, Davis & Elkins College has sought to be of service to its students, and through them to the state, the nation, and the world – meeting the needs of each generation to the best of its ability.