Fractured History, Guest column

There is a broad misconception as to the establishment of The Roche Harbor Resort. The claim is the “McMillins,” were largely responsible for the development of the Resort. That statement is in error, inaccurate, erroneous, and factually incorrect.

My name is Teresa Tarte Tangney- Kennedy. My sister is Mary Lou Tarte Halvorson. We lived the conversion of the Lime plant to a Resort and Marina. We would like to correct the record. For the McMillins The year 1956 marked the end of lime production at Roche Harbor. Decades of accumulated, deferred maintenance had taken an inexorable toll. The market for lime had collapsed, and the quarries were devoid of the profits that powered their interest in the property and the Harbor. Life as the McMillins had known it at Roche Harbor was now over; their glory days were spent and gone. They were weary of life on an Island; in short they wanted out.

Our Father and Mother Reuben and Clara Tarte had a vision. They purchased the old lime production facility from the McMillins lock, stock, and barrel plant in 1956. Reuben offered to deed back the Mausoleum but the McMillins declined.

The conversion of the property from a Lime & Cement company to a Resort and Boatel was begun by the entire Tarte family, not the McMillins. The Tartes acquired land and waterfront plus a dilapidated old, uninhabitable hotel with leaking roof and enough neglect to have justified demolition of it in it’s entirety! A company grocery store, and post office, falling down buildings all covered in years of lime dust and a few sinking docks below a time worn pier were all that was left.

The Tartes converted the McMillin residence to the restaurant, built the original moorage docks, reestablished the gardens, converted the school house to a church, built the swimming pool, constructed the airport, and rebuilt the cabins along with many other improvements.

Our sale of the Resort was a bitter sweet event but the need for capital was relentless. The Resort and Marina are now in the hands of a well capitalized group of prestigious Seattle businessmen. This group has expanded the Marina, added “The Village”, a new Hotel, rebuilt “The Hotel De Haro” and addressed the many deferred maintenance issues to bring Roche Harbor Resort and Marina to one of the premier yachting destinations on the west coast of America.

The entire Tarte Family will forever take pride in our contribution to this, the Gem of Reuben & Clara’s vision.