Hawthorne's first courthouse originally served Esmeralda County. When the seat of government moved to Goldfield in 1903, officials vacated the structure. In 1911, however, when the state legislature created Mineral County, with Hawthorne as the county seat, the two-story brick building was called back into service. It was abandoned again when Mineral County erected a new courthouse in 1970. Now surrounded by a chain-link fence, it is a forlorn reminder of the past.
The structure is fronted by a five-sided entry porch with wood columns. Above a simple cornice with brackets is a cross-gable roof with narrow gable ends that flatten out to the edges of the cornice on each of the elevations. The courthouse stands in one of Hawthorne's few green spaces, shaded by mature trees and flanked by other public buildings, including the school district's offices and the local gymnasium.