Kountze (pronounced 'Coontz') is a city in Hardin County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,115 at the 2000 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 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 circle of swampland about north of Beaumont.
Kirby-Hill Historical HomeThis 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,115 people, 747 households, and 537 families residing in the city. The population density was 532.7 people per square mile (205.7/km²). There were 897 housing units at an average density of 225.9/sq mi (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. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.84% of the population.
There were 747 households out of which 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 non-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 spread out with 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 the median income 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 of Kountze is served by the Kountze Independent School District.
The Kountze Lions' Varsity Basketball Team has brought home State titles, including the years of: 1970, 2004, 2005, and 2007 in both 2A & 3A of UIL standings.
The Kountze Lionette's Varsity Basketball Team have also made four appearances that were held at The Frank Erwin Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Kountze Odyssey of the Mind Team, coached by Vic Miller, brought home World Championship titles in Division 3 in both 2002 and 2004. The 2004 Odyssey of the Mind World Champion team competed in Envirover, Division III, and consisted of team-mates Clayton Bennett, Jacob Harper, Brandon Snider, Matthew Smith, Brittany McAllister, Mariah Davis, and Lindsey Brackin.
The Kountze Volleyball team has also brought home several State championship titles as well as advanced to the final four many times.