In 1800 there were scarcely any Catholics in Newport, but by the mid-19th Century their numbers had risen dramatically, driven by immigration from Ireland. By 1880, the city’s one Catholic parish had grown so large that it had to be divided. Over the next seven decades, the Catholic Church continued to expand its presence in Newport, with the establishment of two more parishes, several convents, four elementary schools, an orphanage, two rest homes, a retreat house and a college. Many of these establishments were housed in what had once been the mansions of the city’s summer colonists. By 1950, Catholicism had become a dominant force in the city by the Sea.