Parke County, Indiana
Parke County lies in the western part of the state about halfway between the northern and southern borders along the Wabash River. The county was formed in 1821 out of a portion of Vigo County. According to the 2010 census, the population was 17,339. The county seat is Rockville. Parke County has a population density of about 39 in habitants per square mile.
The county seat of Rockville is 75 miles west of Indianapolis (state capital), 25 miles north of Terre Haute and 60 miles south of Lafayette.
Two U.S. Routes and five state highways pass through or into the county, along with one major railroad line. U.S. Route 36 passes east-west through the middle of the county, entering from Putnam County to the east, through Rockville and Montezuma, then into Vermillion County to the west. U.S. Route 41 enters from Fountain County to the north and intersects U.S. Route 36 in Rockville; it goes southwest toward Clinton before continuing south to Vigo County and Terre Haute, Indiana. Indiana State Road 47 begins at U.S. Route 41 in the northern part of the county and goes east into Montgomery County, veering north to Crawfordsville. Indiana State Road 59 enters from Clay County to the south and runs north through the eastern part of the county until it terminates at Indiana State Road 236, which runs east from U.S. Route 41. Indiana State Road 163 runs for less than a mile in Parke County, crossing the river at Clinton and terminating at U.S. Route 41 in the far southwest corner of the county. In the far northwestern corner, Indiana State Road 234 enters from Cayuga and runs for less than a mile to Lodi before going north and leaving the county. A small portion of a major CSX Transportation railroad line passes through the southwest corner of the county, entering from Clinton to the west, then going south toward Terre Haute. Another CSX line enters the far southeastern corner of the county on its way from Terre Haute to Indianapolis.
Parke County operates on Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDST). Primarily a rural county with extensive agriculture, today Parke County's economy is supported with a labor force of approximately 8,050 workers. The unemployment rate in November 2011 was 9.6%.
In recent years, average temperatures in Rockville have ranged from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in January to a high of 87 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 109 °F (43 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.25 inches (57 mm) in February to 4.89 inches (124 mm) in July. From 1950 through 2009, eight tornadoes were reported in Parke County; none resulted in any deaths or injuries, but the total estimated property damage was over $280,000.
Parke County has 31 covered bridges and describes itself as the Covered Bridge Capital of the World. It is the site for the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, Indiana's Largest Festival. This countywide festival always starts on the 2nd Friday in October.