Rush County, Indiana



It would be easy to assume that Rush County’s rural nature excludes it from the arts, entertainment, and cultural advantages that many seek for themselves and their families. Nothing could be further from the truth, for the arts flourish here in many forms.

The county supports a lovely, old-fashioned Historical Museum, maintained by the Rush County Historical Society. The museum, located at 7th and Perkins streets, researches, collects, preserves, and interprets information and artifacts about the area. Open on Sunday afternoons during the summer months, the museum provides a glimpse of the American fabric, displaying things like an early Harcourt wheat drill, a spinning wheel, a miniature carousel, 19th century toys, and music boxes.

Five of the famous Kennedy covered bridges are sprinkled throughout the country. Three generations of Kennedys built approximately 50 covered bridges during a sixty-year period beginning in the 1880’s (in central and southern Indiana). Theses magnificent structures, butressed by the Burr arch truss system, are lovingly protected by the Rush County Heritage Group, and attract visitors from far and near. One fine example is the Moscow Covered Bridge, which each year in June inspires the Moscow Covered Bridge Festival.The Rushville Public Library, with services free to city residents and available for a minimal charge to citizens of the county, is an impressive structure which houses hundreds of volumes and artifacts of the past. At the same time, the library is continually updating its facilities and services to keep pace with the technology of a growing literary world.

There is no shortage of arts and entertainment in Rush County. The Rush County Players offer local civic theater productions at least three times annually. Auditions for these productions are well-publicized and attract young and old alike. In addition, the local high school has fine programs in both instrumental and choral music and live theater. Several concerts and stage productions are presented each year to near sell-out crowds. From time to time, the local Rotary Club also sponsors visiting artists.

Summer theater is ably carried by the satirical Briar Patch Players, an energetic group of high schoolers who entertain with local musical fare on the Fourth of July weekend. The county also boasts several long-standing literary clubs, an active garden club, a community band, and many other opportunities in the visual and performing arts.

Countywide celebrations include the Moscow Covered Bridge Festival, Glenwood Old-Fashioned Days, the Pioneer Engineers Steam and Gas Engine show, the Rush County Festival, and the ever-popular Rush County Fair which features competitions and displays in many of the arts.

Perhaps Rush County’s greatest cultural advantage is its location, which provides easy access to numerous and varied concerts, exhibits, and productions in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Many of the local folks enjoy season memberships in the arts of these nearby metropolitan areas.

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Shopping in Rush County is a real treat. Places like Flatrock Village Shops include Wal-Mart, Citizens State Bank and 20/Twenty vision care for necessities. Supermarkets like Kroger’s, Lo-Bill’s and O-Mara’s Market provide a variety of grocery shopping. The absence of corporately-owned mega-malls have allowed old-fashioned entrepreneurial shopkeeping to remain and flourish.

Gift shops like This Old House and The Huckleberry Hutch provide a touch of class, along with clerks who know the customers by name. The Rushville Pharmacy is also a unique shopping experience where gifts and collectibles are varied and people come for more than prescriptions. The Antique Mall, which recently opened its doors in Rushville, offers upscale, high quality antiques. It has attracted visitors from across the state. The new Amish center, located in Milroy, is expected to draw a great deal of interest, as well.

Celebrating 50 years in Homer, Indiana is The Sampler where craftsmen have carved themselves a national reputation offering traditional American furniture designs in wild black cherry, built to the customers desires. Additionally, the showroom features M.A. Hadley pottery, homespun table lines, hand-loomed throws, prints, and lamps. For the avid shopper, a trip to Homer is a genuine delight.

Borrowing a line from The Sampler’s brochure: In an era of assembly line production, Rush County still believes in offering retail businesses that reflect and honor individual preferences!



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Like shopping, dining in Rush County is as personal as a Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. In fact, Winkerby’s Sunday buffet is served only on Sunday. Throughout the rest of the week, Winkerby’s, as well as Millers Family Restaurant, offers catering for special events. Miller’s is housed in a building appropriate for corporate holiday parties and wedding receptions.

Miller’s Drive-in (next door to the north) combines roller-skate car-hop nostalgia with two-fisted Dutch Boy sandwiches and Chicken in a Basket designed to spice up an ordinary day. American is the ethnic food choice in Rush County. The Rushville Elks Club and the Country Cooker provide good food and good places for groups to meet. O’Mara’s Market, famous for their country fried chicken and homemade sandwiches, offers the convenience of a deli, grocery and gas station all in one!

In 1996, Rush County residents spent more than $14 million on food away from home. That is 50% of the total amount of money spent on food prepared in the home.

With quality like this, who wouldn’t be willing to put their money where their mouth is?


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The Economy

the economy
Businesses in Rush County approach commerce with the friendliness of a small town. The regional Small Business Development Center offers business counseling to start-ups as well as expanding businesses. The county’s banks—including First Indiana, Citizen’s State Bank, Norwest Bank, Farmer’s State Bank and People’s Trust Company—provide financial experts willing to help businesses do business.

For industry seeking to relocate, the City of Rushville has been a leader among Indiana’s cities in cooperative ventures and public-private partnerships. Tax abatement and grant-related incentives are used by the City to encourage expansions and relocations.


Intat Precision, Inc., a foundry that makes castings for autos, recently expanded their facility and invested over one hundred million dollars and added one hundred jobs to the community. Fujitsu Ten America, Inc., manufacturer of stereo systems, is also a vital part of the industrial community. The Trane Company, a manufacturer of components for air conditioners, and Copeland Corporation, which remanufactures compressors, together employs almost 500 people.

INCERCO, a high-tech ceramic parts supplier, recently relocated from Indianapolis to Rush County. Already, INCERCO has taken the advantage of the tax benefits and lower costs that Rush County offers. Rush County is also home to Harcourt Industries, a school supply manufacturer in Milroy, Jefferson Smurfit in Carthage, which remanufactures corrugated paper, and Herdrich Petroleum and Dawson Oil Company, industry leaders in the area of petroleum products.

Totaled, the demand in Rush County has meant that the number of employees in manufacturing has jumped by 22 percent from 1984 to 1994—a 33 percent increase between 1989 and 1994. That’s one reason why the Milroy Economic Development Corporation has an industrial park in its limits, with prime space still available for new and expanding businesses. In addition, the Rush Count Industrial Development Corporation markets several hundred acres of available land on Rushville's northside.

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The Rush County School District is a countywide consolidation of four elementary schools housing kindergarten through sixth grade, one middle school, and one high school with an agricultural-technical vocational building on-campus. Total enrollment of the district is approximately 3,000 students, which makes possible a healthy student-teacher ratio. Rushville Consolidated High School (RCHS) will complete a $16 million renovation in the Fall of 1999. This will add ten new classrooms, a new high-tech Internet and computer communication system, a new cafeteria and new athletic facilities to accommodate the school’s record number of varsity sports offerings. Also included in the current facelift is a new music building to house the band and choral departments. This adjoins the reasonably new auditorium, which was built in 1984.


The high school is of moderate size (approximately 900 students), and its course and activity offerings are great. The school offers an Academic Honors Diploma, and was the first in the state to establish a Varsity Scholars Program to honor students who maintain good grades. Seniors who have a 3.0 academic average at the end of their seventh semester are treated to a jet-a-way one-day trip to Bahamas or a savings bond of comparable value, funded by the local community. A few students who improve significantly from their freshmen year are also eligible. Currently more than 25 percent of the senior class earn the privilege. Most students reference the program as an incentive to receive high grades.

The Rush County schools also pioneered student drug testing as a qualification for participation in extracurricular activities or to be given permission to drive to school. The RCS plan, designed to protect the entire student community, may become a model in the courts for other school districts throughout the country.

In addition, RCHS also provides great career and guidance programs offering students many possibilities. The popular School-to-Work program gives students a chance to jobshadow mentors in their chosen field during school-release time, and students seeking vocational training commute daily to nearby Connersville for immediate, hands-on job training. The popular Agriculture Careers in Education program (ACE) offers aid to students who seek an agriculture-related vocation. In addition, the school offers cadet teacher opportunities and a Peer Helper Counseling Group (PHAF) which serves in a "big brother" capacity to middle school and elementary students.

Rush County graduates are fortunate in that the local Community Foundation, aided by the Lilly Foundation and a former second-grade teacher who gave $300,000, helps to fill in the financial gap for those lacking funds to go on to college. The foundation recently presented its first four-year scholarship to a local student and hopes to present more in the future.

Colleges and universities are within a 90-minute drive in any direction. The closest are Indiana University East, Earlham College and Indiana Vocational and Technical College at Richmond, Franklin College, and the University of Indianapolis, Butler University and Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Ball State University located just 40 minutes north in Muncie.

The entire community finds great cohesion and spirit in supporting school academic and athletic successes. Many student teams have received state recognition through the years.

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Health Care

health care
Rush Memorial Hospital completed a major facelift and renovation in 1997, as it endeavored to meet the growing needs and demands of maintaining high-tech medical care in a hometown setting. The hospital received significant community support from Rush County citizens who desperately wanted to keep their hospital when many other small-town community hospitals were closing, forcing their citizens to travel to other locations for medical care.

With a superior emergency room facility, and helicopter life-line links to Indianapolis for critical emergency care, Rush Memorial also offers a number of specialty clinics which include audiology, cardiology, ENT, neurology, speech, sports medicine, pathology, podiatry, pulmonary diseases, radiology, and urology. In addition, the hospital retains 16 internists, general surgery and family practice physicians on its medical staff. Chiropractic clinics are also available.

health care
A fine extended care facility is housed on the hospital’s second floor, and in-patients, their families, and visitors are treated with the particular brand of small-town care and cordiality that one can only obtain close to home.

Elder care is also a priority in Rush County. Facilities include two nursing homes, three home health care agencies and a top-notch residential care facility willing to partner with clients to find solutions that allow families to stay together. This community dedication to continuing care often makes it possible for older adults to remain in a familiar environment and avoid moving to metropolitan areas to receive the kind of attention they deserve.

The entire community is served by private ambulance and emergency medical services located in Milroy, Carthage, Rushville, and Raleigh/Mays.

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Rush County government is overseen by a three-member Board of Commissioners and a seven-member county council—while the City of Rushville, the County Seat, has a full-time mayor and a five-member city council - all dedicated to serving the community. (Carthage and Glenwood are the only other incorporated towns in the county; Carthage has the distinction of being the largest town in Indiana without a major highway running through it.)

The City of Rushville has 13 uniformed police officers and five full-time dispatchers. The police station, recently relocated, offers the latest technical communication equipment and a state-of-the-art firing range. The Rush County Sheriff’s Department employs eight full time employees and two administrators whose dedicated service has earned them high regard throughout the community.

Rushville’s fire station is manned by 16 full-time firefighters with one-half of the department registered as emergency medical technicians or EMTs. In order to upgrade their services, the department purchased a new aerial pumper in early 1998. Volunteer fire departments located throughout the county provide adequate fire protection which also serves to keep both insurance premiums and tax rates low.


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