Kountze (/kuːnts/ koonts) 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 for Herman 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% 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.
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