Termed the “Armory and World War Memorial Building” on the blueprints, the Argonne Armory was designed by Tinsley, McBroom & Higgins in 1934, during the Great Depression. It is Art Deco style, but reminiscent of the Beaux-Arts style that was used for the other public buildings gracing the river front. Together they form the Civic Center Historic District.

Art Deco elements include the raised parapets at the two east entries, which emphasize the geometric form of the building, and hard-edged, low-relief eagle sculpture above the entries. The Armory was originally designed to house 10 Iowa National Guard units and the Argonne post of the American Legion. The basement was designed for National Guard storage and a rifle range. The interior was later modified to accommodate city and county offices.