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Thompson's Fish House Museum

CIRCA 1912

Historic Marker number 60 is located at the end of Margaret Street on Thompson's pier in the Historic Seaport.The Thompson Fish House was part of Norberg Thompson's sprawling enterprises in and around the Historic Seaport. He built the wooden structure at the end of the pier in conjunction with the Turtle Kraal pens and turtle canning building along the pier. The structure has had many uses over the years. It started out as a waterside packing location for fresh fish and turtles from the local fleets. The sea fare was packed in ice from an ice house, located at Historic Marker #80, and transferred to trains to ship to the mainland and Cuba. Henry Flagler's Over-Sea Railroad terminal, Historic Marker #75, was a short distance by water or land from the fish house.For a while there was a submerged wooden cage suspended beneath the building used to house exotic fish and maritime specimens caught by local fishermen. Selling the specimens to aquarium and maritime research ships proved a lucrative side business.During 1928-30, Ernest Hemingway lived at Historic Marker #6 and often disembarked from the pier for many of the fishing excursions that fueled his love of the sea and the stories and lore of the local fishermen he met.During the golden days of shrimping in the 1950s, the pier was the epicenter of the shrimp industry. The burgeoning success of the shrimp industry brought entrepreneurs from all over the country along with a cast of colorful characters.Today the building houses a scale model of Fort Jefferson. The fort is located in the Dry Tortugas and was part of a chain of three additional Civil War Era forts in Key West. See marker number #70 for Fort Zachary Taylor, marker number# 54 for West Martello Tower, and marker number #82 for East Martello Tower.