Known widely as "the City by the Sea," Newport has a long history of maritime activity. Since the Colonial period, it has been an important seaport for the mercantile trade and a harbor of inestimable value for naval vessels. In 1869, the navy opened the Naval Torpedo Station on Goat Island in Newport harbor. The Naval War College on Coasters Harbor Island and the Naval Training Station soon followed. The navy's Newport presence expanded through two world wars; in the 1940s, the U.S. Naval Operating Base included extensive facilities on both sides of Narragansett Bay. Today, Newport remains a site of naval training, research, and development. The prestigious Naval War College, the Naval Education and Training Center, and the Naval Undersea WarfareCenter have kept the navy a leading Rhode Island and southeastern New England employer.