The ice house over the water at Archie Smith Fish House met its demise this morning. The county decided to remove the structure for safety reasons.
A couple of months ago, the bottom of the ice house fell out while people were dining next door at Sebastian Saltwater Marina Restaurant. Patrons recalled hearing a loud noise before they heard a splash and realized the floor caved in. It wasn’t long after that when the county felt there could be safety issues, as the structure was starting to fail.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, a barge showed up and appeared to be tearing down the old structure. The property and Fish House will remain a conservation area to protect seagrass beds and wildlife such as the manatee habitat in the Lagoon.
Archie Smith purchased the property in 1927 and established a fishing business. The site included an expanded house, a shed for net storage, a crab house, a fish house, and extensive docks.
Sebastian’s local fishermen worked primarily at night in the Indian River and brought their fish in during the early morning hours. The fish would then be cleaned and packed in barrels with shaved ice, placed on a trolley, and pushed manually to Indian River Drive. Trucks would then transport the seafood to the railway before being delivered to cities like New York.
On October 28, 1994, the fish house was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. This acquisition eliminates future high-density residential or commercial development on this parcel.
The property, located at 1740 Indian River Drive, is actually in the county and not the City of Sebastian.