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THE HARVARD BREWING COMPANY
 
Wilhelm, the other 3 percent, was seized under the Alien 
Property Custodian Act.  Heading up the Office of Alien 
Property were Custodian Leo Crowley, a former Navy 
admiral, and Assistant Custodian James Markham, a Lowell 
lawyer whose brothers worked at the brewery.

     When Von Opel was released, he fought an extended 
legal battle to regain his assets from the government.  At the 
heart of the legal cases was $3,700,000 worth of stocks 
which Von Opel unsuccessfully sought at the Federal District 
Court and Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. In 195 1, 
Von Opel won a review to the United States Supreme Court. 
In a unanimous decision, the justices again refused the return 
of Fritz's stock holdings stating that Wilhelm Von Opel's three 
percent interest was "paramount and controlling" while his son's 
was "wholly subordinate." 

     The government held the brewery for several more years 
through the 1950's, long after the threat of Nazi Germany had 
passed.  By 1956, sales of Harvard beer had declined 
considerably and political pressure on President Dwight 
Eisenhower's administration led the government to finally release 
the brewery.  After competitive bids were taken, Washington 
sold off Harvard for $800,000 to a Miami, Florida real estate 
concern called the Fort Knox Construction Company.  The Harris 
brothers of Fort Knox appeared to be more interested in
obtaining a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and in
profiteering on the real estate value of the Harvard site than in 
brewing beer.

     In December of 1956, the Fort Knox Company sold the 
Harvard Brewery to Peter Doelger, Inc. of New York for the 
sum of $2 million.  The Doelger concern, realizing the poor 
financial situation of Harvard, shut down the Lowell brewery 
and moved production of Harvard beer to their own Hampden 
Brewing Company in Willimanset, Massachusetts.  Doelger, Inc. 
stripped the brewery of all its stores, machinery and equipment 
and sold it off to companies as far away as South America. 
Although the corporation had promised to set up a major 
distribution center in Lowell and keep all former Harvard workers 
employed, only a few people were kept on the payroll and offered 
permanent positions out in Willimanset.
 

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