We will review the scientific motivation and the early R&D that eventually led the IceCube project to transform a cubic kilometer of natural Antarctic ice into a neutrino detector. The instrument detects more than 100,000 neutrinos per year in the GeV to 10 PeV energy range. Among those, we have isolated a flux of high-energy neutrinos of cosmic origin, with an energy density in the extreme universe similar to that of high-energy photons and cosmic rays. We identified their first source: on September 22, 2017, several astronomical telescopes pinpointed a flaring active galaxy, powered by a supermassive black hole, as the source of a cosmic neutrino with an energy of 290 TeV. We will review subsequent developments in neutrino multimessenger astronomy.