Mackinac’s Oldest Ferry Has Made Final Trip

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. — Arnold Transit Company, the longest-running ferry service from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island, has called it quits.

Burdened by financial difficulty since 2013, Arnold announced its decision Thursday to officially close and sell its ships to competitor Star Line in the coming weeks. The deal would give Star Line the largest ferry fleet to the island, surpassing competitor Shepler’s Ferry Company down the road. Star Line will now operate 11 passenger ships—six with their trademark “rooster tail” and five from Arnold.

Founded by George Arnold in 1878 as a steamship company transporting goods and passengers all over the Great Lakes, Arnold was the oldest of the three Mackinac Island ferry companies, operating for 138 years. Star Line was founded in 1978 and Shepler’s was founded in 1945.

Photo by Kelsey Peppler.


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