Miami Beach House Where Iconic Beatles Pic Was Taken Set to Be Demolished

Thumbnail image for beatlesimage.jpg.jpg
Photo by John Loengard, 1964
In February 1964 the Beatles had invaded Miami Beach, and they needed somewhere quiet to escape the mobs of screaming fans for a Life magazine shoot. Through an Ed Sullivan Show connection, the mop-topped British sensations were pulled away from the swarmed Deauville Hotel and spirited to 5750 North Bay Rd. -- a house owned by the local Pollak family.

"They were quite impressed with the house and the photos of my parents with their friends," Linda Pollak, who was 15 at the time, later wrote in the Chicago Tribune. "Very polite, they waited to be told what to do. They were pale, skinny guys."

See also: Real Housewife and Boob God Win Fight to Tear Down Historic Star Island Mansion

Pollak and her three brothers were instructed to get into the chilly pool first so the photographers could adjust their camera settings. Then the Pollak kids waded out and the world's most famous pop stars waded in.

"They started splashing and goofing around," Pollak wrote. "Except John. He got out of the pool and sat in the back with his wife."

Only one photo was published from the shoot: a black-and-white image of the four Beatles, all neck-deep in water and wearing silly facial expressions. The pic, which graced the back page of Life, became one of the most iconic images of the
band ever published.

Now the current owner of the house, Chicken Kitchen founder Christian de Berdouare, has applied to demolish it -- and at least one local Beatles buff would be heartbroken over the loss. Grant Epstein, a real estate agent, grew up just a couple of blocks from the house and was friends with the Pollak boys. He still has a picture of his older brother sitting next to a shirtless, sunglasses-clad Ringo Starr taken the day after the shoot,
when the Beatles returned to the Pollak house for a visit.

"I don't see how anybody could knock it down knowing the Beatles were there," he says. "It's like another piece of Miami history gone to the wrecking ball."

According to real estate records, de Berdouare has owned the five-bedroom, 8,000-square-foot home since 1997, when he bought it for $1.3 million; in 2013, the home's market value was listed at $5.7 million. On April 6, de Berdouare filed a public notice in the Miami Herald that he'd requested approval for a new two-story single-family home on the site once the structure was demolished.

"It's outside of any historic district," local historian Paul George says. "Which means that as an owner, you can do what you want with it."

De Berdouare did not respond to a request for comment.

Epstein says he hopes bringing attention to the demolition request will inspire the businessman to reconsider. "But probably not," he adds. "It's all like a Beatles fan's pipe dream."

Send your tips to trevor.bach@miaminewtimes.com, or follow @trevorbach.

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24 comments
Anastasia Biltmore
Anastasia Biltmore

The house is in such awful disrepair and has truly ZERO historical value. This is just another attempt at these so called "preservationists" at thwarting development. If they really cared so much about this house, they would have been making a stink about putting it on the historical register years ago- but NOT A PEEP until someone buys it and has plans to build something large and expensive. It's just going after deep pockets.

Antonio Casanovas
Antonio Casanovas

Lmfao @ this article. "One of the most iconic pictures of the band ever published". I'm a Beatles fan and only recall seeing this one maybe twice...so memorable

margiebot
margiebot

We live in a world where it is completely acceptable to erase history.  Regardless of the Beatles story, this is a historic house, rich with other stories and stands as an example of a time when we were not in such a hurry to dispose of things.  It is not eco-friendly to destroy an old home.  Fix it, preserve it for many, many years and teach our children history, culture, and the importance of the fruit of our ancestor's labors. Shame on him and shame on his neighbors for not putting up a fight.

john
john

It is a shame that this home, designed by noted MiMo master Melvin Grossman, is set to be demolished and redeveloped with a 15k square foot McMansion spec home. The owner has done this already in several other places around the Beach. It's time for the citizens to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Stop ruining our history for your own short-term financial gain. We must protect these homes from their owners.

Camilo Payan
Camilo Payan

i don't get it, is he burning the photo too? Isn't this why we take photos? Is Paul McCartney on permanent display in this pool?

Katrina Tweddle
Katrina Tweddle

Miami beach history includes far more than the hotels on ocean drive...well put Tony...Miami beach is fast becoming a corporate wasteland...but I guess people who dont live her wouldnt realize that

Wayne Burgess
Wayne Burgess

If this article did not spell out where this was, none of us would have even known. It is not like it is showing off some specific building.

Lenny Lebowitz
Lenny Lebowitz

The beatles are not american history and who really cares about them anymore

Noah Greene
Noah Greene

Oh please, they swam in a pool. That doesn't make it historic, it makes it a used pool.

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

Uh, Tony, see ocean drive and all the other hotels that are well preserved all over South Beach.

Bibi Villazon
Bibi Villazon

Read the article. He ISN'T demolishing a 'historical' house to build a chicken kitchen.

Rene Flores
Rene Flores

He needs to open one here in Orlando!!!!!

Robert Howe
Robert Howe

I love chicken kitchen "BAZOOKA"!!!!!

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

You don't get the point. Miami has no respect for history or historical preservation. If you have money in Miami, you can destroy anything you want.

David Lorenzo
David Lorenzo

oh man who cares , how many places have the Beatles stayed and taken a picture at . we cant demolish all those things either ? gtfo

john
john

what sort of awful disrepair could it be in if the current owner has owned it since the early 90s...? and whose fault is it if it came to be in that state of disrepair?

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

Yeah, I was like...


Iconic?

How come I never saw it before?

john
john

@margiebot well said! good to know that we still have good people in this town :)

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