The Mighty Terrace!

Two months from now the Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale will mark its third year of operation. By the time May rolls around more than one and a half million people will have passed through the doors of the most beautiful suburban theater in the world. Built at the cost of about $750,000 in May 1952, the theater is operated by the Volk brothers Sydney and William, both of whom also own and operate the Nile, Camden and Riverview theaters in Minneapolis. Why did they pick Robbinsdale as the location for the breathtaking Terrace? Most important, said Sydney, is the fact that it is adjacent to a large growing community. The Volk brothers planned the theater to serve all of the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities. Proof that the building is doing that can be taken from the official records which show that 2% of the total population of people who attend showings at the building come from St. Paul. The city of Robbinsdale, home of the Terrace, supplies 15% of the total. People come to the theater from a 50 mile radius. When the building first open 1952 a guest register was available for all patrons to sign. Signatures from 25,000 people in every state of the union, Canada and many foreign countries can still be seen in the register. One of the highest honors possible was bestowed upon the theater in 1952 when the Volk brothers received the international award for having the outstanding theater in United States that year. Covering 10 acres including parking lots and space not yet put to use, this theater also boasts the largest seating capacity of any suburban theater and the largest parking facilities which handle more than 1300 vehicles. First-rate movies appear at the Terrace as early as possible in other words, when they leave the downtown theaters. The terrace can always boast that they are showing one of the top 10 films. The longest run enjoyed by anyone film was for 11 days. The average showing his 4 days to a week, depending on public demand. Long range plans call for landscaping of the hollow behind the theater potentially including a lagoon.


The brothers recently purchased the service station and tavern at the corner of 36th and West Broadway and will tear down the building this summer using that spot as the main entrance to the parking lot. Visitors who unimpressed by the Terrace from the outside view will blink their eyes and amusement once they’re stepped inside. Nothing has been overlooked in the theater. Included is a television lounge, well furnished nursery rooms, immaculate restrooms, deep and soft cushion seats, background music throughout the theater and many other conveniences usually found in the suburban building of this type. The most recent addition is the wide Cinemascope screen with stereophonic sound installed in January of 1954. The tower of the theater serves as the office quarters for the Volk brothers as they conduct their theater business garage spaces provided on the east side of the building below the ground level.

– Bob Bork, Associate Editor
Robbinsdale Post
March 24th, 1955



  1. There will be a meeting of the “Save the Terrace” group, at the Hennepin History Museum @ 3303 3rd Av S. 1/2 block N.
    of the Minneapolis Art Institute. Come and visit our “Robbinsdale Room” at this museum and attend the meeting to learn more about this special interest group and saving or rehabbing the Terrace Theater.

  2. Are there any updates or another meeting planned? Hopefully things can happen, so people can get/stay involved.

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