The Arnold Name, a Brief History
The Arnold Line was founded in 1878 by George T. Arnold. George came to the Mackinac Straits Area to form the Mackinac Lumber Co. and soon moved to the Island to start Arnold Line Steamers. He had multiple historic steamers in the fleet including the 115' ISLANDER, the 133' MINNE M, and the 127' ALGOMAH. These steamer boats were coal fired and steam driven, usually in excess of 100' long and requiring crews of over 20 people. In 1900 the Arnold Transit Co. name was adopted and the company continued buying steamers for transit all around the Straits area.
Following the Depression and World War II, the now owners of the Arnold Line, Prentiss M. Brown and Otto Lang, decided to transition from costly steamers to smaller and faster diesel boats that required a smaller crew. Otto Lang soon sold his share of the Arnold Line business and it was left entirely to the heirs of Prentiss M. Brown. As business grew on the island over the course of many decades, the first Catamarans were introduced on the Great Lakes and many still remain on the Strait, taking visitors and residents back and forth across the Strait.
The Arnold Name We Know Today
The passenger side of the Arnold Line business was sold in 2016 to the Mackinac Island Ferry Co. and Arnold Freight Company is what continues the Arnold legacy in the Mackinac Straits Area. With two freight boats, Corsair and The Senator, as well as a landing craft, the 906 Express, Arnold continues its positive impact and contribution to Mackinac Island. With a dense history going back over 100 years, Arnold Freight Co. is proud to be a part of the development and continual growth of Mackinac Island.