Kountze is the seat of Hardin County, and lies 27 miles north of Beaumont on US 69/287, near the Big Thicket National Preserve.
Early in the 1900s, Kountze was one of the first towns in Hardin County with electricity. The decline of the area's lumber industries, however, along with a fire in 1916, slowed development, as did the growth of nearby Silsbee. By the mid-1940s the population of Kountze had fallen to 800.
Nearby oil discoveries during the early 1950s once again sparked the town's growth and allowed renovation of many of the city's aging utilities and roads.
The population, bolstered by the presence of the county government and the migration of numerous former residents of Jefferson County into Hardin County during the 1970s, had increased to 2,716 by 1980. In 1990 it was 2,056.