Created in 1862, Lander County built courthouses in three different towns due to subsequent shifts in county seat location. The first, located in Jacobsville, was a simple wooden structure built by A. J. McDonald at the price of $8,440.
The single-story courthouse measured 20-by-40-feet. Clad in one-inch clapboard, the walls of the building met the shingled roof with a plain-box cornice. The exterior featured side windows and a porch along the extent of the building's front.
A silver ore discovery in the new community of Austin encouraged officials to relocate the seat of government. The county paid McDonald to move the structure to Austin just a few months after the building was completed.
In an effort to discourage a future shift in the seat of government, officials approved plans for a monumental brick courthouse designed by Dan P. Bell. The county hired contractors Bliss and Mahoney, who completed the building in 1872 at a cost of $30,000 including construction expenses, adjacent lots, and furniture.
Topped with a gabled roof, the facade of the Greek Revival structure exhibits a front pediment accented with a brick dentil cornice, an oculus, and a second-story iron balcony. The interior employs a traditional layout with a second-floor courtroom and county offices on the ground floor. In the East, Greek Revival had passed out of favor by the early 1860s, and this is apparently the last county courthouse built in this style in the nation. It is the only one in the state.
In 1979, Battle Mountain became the new seat of government. The county renovated a former historic school to serve as a courthouse. Built in 1916, its appearance is similar to other Neoclassical style courthouses in Nevada. The former courthouse in Austin still serves as a regional county facility.