Kountze, Texas

Kountze (/knts/ koonts) is a city in Hardin County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,123 at the 2010 census.[3] It is the county seat of Hardin County.[4] The city is part of the BeaumontPort Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Kountze, Texas
Location of Kountze, Texas
Coordinates: 30°22′36″N 94°18′55″W
CountryUnited States
  Total3.96 sq mi (10.26 km2)
  Land3.95 sq mi (10.24 km2)
  Water0.008 sq mi (0.02 km2)
85 ft (26 m)
  Density537/sq mi (207.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)409
FIPS code48-39868[1]
GNIS feature ID1374401[2]

Kountze was originally established as a railroad town in 1881. The city was named for Herman and Augustus Kountze, financial backers of the Sabine and East Texas Railroad.[5] The seat of Hardin County, Kountze boasts an area of more than 89% forested lush green terrain. The 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". The thicket is a vast area of tangled, often impenetrable woods, streams, and marshes that occupies a 50-mile (80 km) circle of southeastern Texas, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Beaumont. The cradle of the United States' oil industry is found in the region. Now portions of the thicket are nationally protected as the Big Thicket National Preserve.

In 1991, Kountze became the first American city with a Muslim mayor, an African American named Charles Bilal.[6][7]

Sites of interest

Kirby-Hill House: This historic home was built in 1902 by James L. Kirby, brother of 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.[8]

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.


Kountze is slightly northeast of the center of Hardin County, north of Cypress Creek, an east-flowing tributary of Village Creek and part of the Neches River watershed. U.S. Route 287 (Pine Street) is the main highway through the city, leading north 31 miles (50 km) to Woodville and south 25 miles (40 km) to Beaumont. Texas State Highway 326 (W. Monroe Street) leads southwest from Kountze 18 miles (29 km) to Sour Lake.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Kountze has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.3 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.20%, is water.[3]


Historical population
Est. 20162,099[9]−1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the 2010 census, Kountze had a population of 2,123. The ethnic and racial makeup of the population was 70.1% non-Hispanic White, 23.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian Indian, 0.4% Filipino, 0.1% other Asian, 1.3% some other race, and 2.2% reporting two or more races, including 5.0% Hispanic.[11]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 2,115 people, 747 households, and 537 families resided in the city. The population density was 532.7 people per square mile (205.7/km²). The 897 housing units averaged 225.9 per square mile (87.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.59% White, 26.43% African American, 0.66% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.84% of the population.

Of the 747 households, 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were not families; 25.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city, the population was distributed as 29.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,352, and for a family was $34,318. Males had a median income of $30,656 versus $22,083 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,522. About 19.0% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.8% of those under age 18 and 24.9% of those age 65 or over.


The city is served by the Kountze Independent School District.

The Kountze Lions' varsity basketball team has won state titles in 1970, 2004, 2005, and 2007 in both 2A and 3A of UIL standings. The Kountze Lionette's varsity basketball team has also made four appearances at the Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The Kountze volleyball team has also brought home several state championship titles, as well as advanced to the final four several times.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Kountze has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.[12]

Notable residents


  1. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Kountze city, Texas". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. "Handbook of Texas Online - KOUNTZE, TEXAS". TSHA online. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  6. American Muslims the New Generation
  7. Dallas Morning News
  8. "Kirby-Hill House". Kirby-Hill House Educational Foundation, Inc. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  9. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  10. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. [2010 US census report on Kountze]
  12. Climate Summary for Kountze, Texas
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