As built, the former county courthouse was a severely plain brick building with a central twostory block flanked by lower two-story wings, all covered with hipped roofs. A glance at the unchanged rear elevation provides an idea of the original appearance. In 1909 Cumberland, Maryland, architect George F. Sansbury enlarged the building by extending the facades of the main block and the wings forward, those of the wings far enough to project beyond the central block. The configuration that resulted created a U-shaped facade, and the architect filled the central recess with a deep, tetrastylar, pedimented portico extending beyond the new wings. Fluted Corinthian columns rise from four exaggeratedly high bases, each of which displays a digit in the enlarged building's date. Behind, a pair of exterior stairs lead to a second-floor balcony that stretches across the front of the central block.
If somewhat unorthodox, the courthouse nevertheless presents an undeniably monumental image and remains Petersburg's chief architectural ornament. In 1976 a new courthouse was built nearby, and the older building currently houses a branch of Shepherd College. The unusual name of one of the streets flanking the building derives from a soft-drink distributing facility at the end of the lane.