Seat, East Texas
FMs 418 and 1293
Highways 326, and 69/287
23 miles NW of Beaumont
10 miles W of Silsbee
31 miles S of Woodville
Population: 2681(2000) 2,056 (1990)
in a Pecan Shell|
The town was named for the Kounte Brothers, Herman and Augustus - railroad
investors in the Sabine and East Texas Railroad. The railroad served a string
of lumber towns, most of which have faded into oblivion. A post office was granted
in 1882 and although Kountz was defeated in an election for county seat, a courthouse
fire in 1886 made the voters rethink their decision. Kountze became the county
seat in 1886. The year 1902 saw the arrival of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe
Railway – making Kountze a railroad crossroads.
The population in 1910
was over three times the 1890 population and Kountze was wired for electricity
while much of Hardin County remained in the dark.
The town suffered a
fire in 1916 just as the forests were thinning out. Silsbee grew as Kountze’s
rival, preventing Kountze from an economic dominance.
a newspaperman who started the Kountze News on a hand-fed press in the 50s, became
a self-appointed spokesperson, and champion of Hardin County and the Big Thicket
in the 1960s.
Legend of the Olive Ghost Train
by W. T. Block Jr.
It was a bright moonlight night that October 30th when Tim Hargraves reached Beaumont,
and he went straight to a booth and asked for a ticket to Olive, north of Kountze.
The ticket master inquired, "A ticket to Olive? Why, that's a ghost town, and
all the houses except 2 or 3 are gone. The East Texas Railroad passes nearby,
but are you sure that's where you want to go?..." Olive,
Hardin County, Texas
An Extinct Sawmill Town and the Olive-Sternenberg Partnership
That Built It
by W. T. Block
Three miles north of Kountze, in Hardin County, Texas,
where once the burly and towering pine trees shaded the forest floors beneath
them, the town of Olive thrived between 1881 and 1912.
its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone
wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of
their town, please contact
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