When the 1300 seat Terrace Theater opened in 1951, the spectacular venue was the most luxurious, comfortable and up-to-date theater in America. Local movie theater owners, Bill and Sydney Volk, spared no expense when they built their flagship overlooking the marshes on the west side of Crystal Lake. The architectural firm of Liebenberg and Kaplan designed the theater. In 1952, the Robbinsdale Post reported construction costs in excess of $750,000.
The Terrace was equipped with a sunken den and fireplace, a television lounge, well furnished nursery rooms, deep and soft cushion seats, and background music throughout the theater. Considered a masterpiece of International-Style, The Terrace was one of the first ultramodern theaters in America. The Volk brothers planned the theater to serve all of the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities.A guest register from 1952 contained signatures from 25,000 people in every state of the union, Canada and many foreign countries. Over the years necessary improvements were made. In the 1970’s, The Terrace was retrofitted with 70mm equipment and the theater created a niche for action packed movies. In 1987 the theater purchased by the Midcontinental Theater Company.
The auditorium was divided in half, and two small balconies were separated and turned into 300 seat screening rooms. The last movie played in 1999 and the windows boarded up. The Terrace has remained unoccupied ever since. The building is currently owned by an out of state property management company with no interest in the neighborhood, or the historic significance of the building. The Terrace Theater has been pulling at the heart strings of Robbinsdale and the surrounding area for almost 15 years. Nobody really understands why this community treasure has been allowed to haunt the hillside for so long.
A couple years ago local rocker, Adam Fesenmaier started a facebook group called, “Save the Terrace”. The group grew and currently has the support of at least 1500 local theater enthusiasts. In the summer of 2014, Alison Nguyen attracted attention to the cause Robbinsdale’s annual Whiz Bang Days. Her Terrace 2.0 Float brought in local media and reminded Whiz Bang crowds that it was time to do something with this amazing historic building. In January 2015, “Save the Terrace” took a few steps off the little screen and into the real world. Our efforts are currently being organized as part of the Robbinsdale Historical Society. You can watch this page for more information and updates. If you want to get involved please consider joining the Robbinsdale Historical Society. The purpose of this group is to SAVE THE TERRACE THEATER!