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Parke County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indianamarker. As of 2000, the population was 17,241. The county seat is Rockvillemarker .


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 450 square miles (1,166 km²), of which 445 square miles (1,152 km²) is land and 5 square miles (14 km²) (1.18%) is water.

Major highways


Adjacent counties


Parke County was formed in 1821. It was named for Capt. Benjamin Parke, who commanded a troop of light Dragoons at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Parke was a delegate of Indiana Territory to the U.S. Congress. In 1821, he was U.S. District Judge for Indiana.

Parke County is the birthplace of baseball great Mordecai Brown. The following article from the 8-28-1908 Rockville Republican provides a sample of his prowess:

Mordecai Brown Pitches Great Game

“Mordecai Brown, our Mordecai, whose career in the national league is watched with the closest interest by every fan in Parke county, pitched his greatest game of the year in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, shutting out the leaders in the National league race, 3 to 0. A telegram from Pittsburgh describing the game, says:

‘The game was Brown’s best of the year. The longer he pitched, the better he got, until towards the finish he actually had the Pirates throwing away their bats or hitting after the ball was in Kling’s hands. His speed was terrific, his command perfect, and his curve ball broke almost at right angles. No team on earth could have beaten him and the pitching feat fills out a record. Brown has now shut out Pittsburgh three straight times. 3 to 0, 2 to 0 and 3 to 0, and the Pirates have beaten him only once in three years, then 1 to 0 when Slagle dropped a fly ball last season and let the winning run score. After the game umpire Johnstone declared he never in his life saw such pitching and that Brown’s curve was so sharp and so fast that it fooled him repeatedly, causing him to call perfect strikes balls.’”


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, the collection of revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.

Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to terms of four years. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk Each of these elected officers serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.


Parke County

Population by year

2000 17,241

1990 15,410

1980 16,372

1970 14,600

1960 14,804

1950 15,674

1940 17,358

1930 16,561

1920 18,875

1910 22,214

1900 23,000

1890 20,296

1880 19,460

1870 18,166

1860 15,538

1850 14,968

1840 13,499

1830 7,535

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,241 people, 6,415 households, and 4,625 families residing in the county. The population density was 39 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 7,539 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.43% White, 2.15% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. 0.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.7% were of Americanmarker, 19.2% German, 12.1% English and 8.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 6,415 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.90% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.90% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.90% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,724, and the median income for a family was $40,656. Males had a median income of $32,578 versus $20,968 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,986. About 9.30% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.30% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns


Attractions and Events

Parke County is known for having many covered bridges. It is known as the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World", having 30 extant covered bridges, one more than the 29 covered bridges in Lancaster Countymarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, making it the United Statesmarker county with the largest number of covered bridges. Each year, a festival is held in October that attracts many visitors to the county to see these covered bridges. It is also home to Turkey Run State Parkmarker.

See also

External links


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