In 1931, the federal government commissioned renowned 20th century architect, Cass Gilbert, to design and construct a new courthouse on Foley Square. The Foley Square courthouse was the first skyscraper courthouse designed solely for the federal courts and court-related agencies.The project broke ground in July 1932 with construction completed by January 1936. Gilbert designed the building in neoclassical style with Minnesota granite for the building exterior and glazed terra cotta for the pyramid roof and lantern. In 2001, President George W. Bush designated the courthouse for Thurgood Marshall, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1961-1965 and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991.
Visitors to the Courthouse will enter through the Main Hall, the principal public space in the building with a soaring 30-foot ceiling divided into a grid of decorative plaster details; they will proceed to the 17th floor appellate courtroom with walnut walls and a decorative plaster ceiling featuring nautical motifs, and visit two historic trial courtrooms—one in the Tower and Courtroom 506, one of the three large ceremonial courtrooms in the base. Visitors also will be able to view a photograph exhibit in the Main Hall dedicated to Thurgood Marshall. Tours will each last approximately 30 minutes.
Access Notes: Visitors will be required to pass through security screening to enter the courthouse. Visitors are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the tour to allow for security screening. A photo ID is required. Cameras and other electronic devices (including cell phones) are not allowed in the courthouse. No pets are allowed in the courthouse. Food and drink are not allowed to be brought into the courtrooms.
Reservations for this tour are now sold out. Interested in exploring important civic landmarks? You may also enjoy New York City Hall, the Hall of Records, and/or the Manhattan Municipal Building, which require no reservations! Click on each site’s name to check out its Open Access listing.
Image Credit: Ron Coleman via Flickr