This highly functional brick, concrete, plate-glass, and steel-frame building was erected in 1976/77 from plans drafted by James Walker of the Boston firm of Whitman and Howard. The builder was James J. Welch Company of Salem. Although it appears austere and barren at first glance, the courthouse cannot fail to impress the onlooker with its expansive brick wall surface, sharply defined lines, and connected box-like geometric shapes. On the four-level (two are below ground) interior are a spacious two-story lobby and stairwell, three courtrooms, judges' lobbies, a cleark's office, conference rooms, waiting areas, jury rooms, detention cells, lounges, a small library, a vault, offices, and maintenance and utility rooms. The First District Court was formerly located in the Salem Police Station on Central Street at Charter.