Designed by the prominent architect Cass Gilbert, the building was commissioned in 1931, and its construction took about four years to complete. The six-story courthouse base has a plastered facade in addition to a Corinthian colonnade that includes small engraved U.S. eagles. Massive steps of granite lead to the entrance recessed beyond the columns. The facade is made completely of an off-white Minnesota granite that is mottled with peaches and grays. Above the columns at the ends of the entablature are embellished roundels, designed to look like coins, with the carved images of the four ancient lawmen, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Moses.