Location of Kountze, Texas
Kountze is a city in Hardin County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,123 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Hardin County. The city is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Kountze was originally established as a railroad town in 1881. The city was named forHerman and Augustus Kountze, financial backers of the Sabine and East Texas Railroad.The seat of Hardin County, Kountze boasts an area of more than 89 percent forested lush green terrain. Local area produces over 3.5 million board feet (8,300 m³) of lumber annually.
Kountze describes itself as "The Big Light in The Big Thicket" - a Thicket is that vast area of tangled, often impenetrable woods, streams and marshes. Now portions of this thicket are nationally protected as the Big Thicket National Preserve.
The cradle of this country's oil industry is found in the Big Thicket of east Texas. The thicket is a 50 miles (80 km) circle of swampland about 30 miles (48 km) north of Beaumont.
In 1991 Kountze became the first American city with a Muslim mayor in African-AmericanCharles Bilal.
Kirby-Hill Historical Home This historical home was built in 1902 by James L. Kirby, brother of the legendary timber baron and philanthropist John Henry Kirby. James' daughter, Lucy Kirby Hill purchased the house from her father in 1907. It is the first Hardin County home listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Big Thicket National Preserve was established by Congress in 1974. This combination of virgin pine and cypress forest, hardwood forest, meadow and blackwater swamp is managed by the National Park Service. The Preserve was established to protect the remnant of its complex biological diversity. What is so extraordinary is not the rarity or abundance of its life forms, but how many species coexist here.
The City of Kountze is home to the world's only known pair of married armadillos, Hoover and Star, married on June 10, 1995.