The former Village of Arthur was named after Arthur Wellesley, who became the Duke of Wellington. The Village of Arthur was first surveyed in 1841 by John McDonald and then officially in 1846 by D.B. Papineau. The establishment of saw and gristmills sparked growth in the community. In 1851, a post office was opened and the first church and school were organized. Development was further encouraged in 1872 when a station of the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway was opened.
- The Wellington County Creamery, in Arthur on George Street where Crawford Funeral Home is now located, during a fifteen year period produced 1½ million pounds of butter.
- In 1897, the Village of Arthur was one of the earliest in Ontario to be served by a power transmission line. There were no meters, but people were charged 10 cents for each light bulb used. Power was available in the evenings and was cut off at midnight.
- The Arthur Enterprise News, established 1863, was one of the few non-syndicated weekly newspapers in Canada.