Mendon Police Chief Kelsie Townsend looks over blood-stained safe in office where Harold P. Lowell was attacked by intruder.
By Sara Withee - News Staff Writer
MENDON -- Linwood Lowell spent much of his youth making ice cream and working
alongside his father at his family's former restaurant.
Today, the 78-year-old lives less than a quarter-mile from the landmark Lowell's
Restaurant, where his grandfather Freeman Lowell and his father Harold "Putt" Lowell
cultivated a comfortable atmosphere for locals that long outlived them.
But yesterday, as Linwood watched cleanup from the fire that destroyed the popular
eatery, he said he has steered clear of the restaurant since the horrific night when his
father was fatally beaten there 30 years ago.
"I've only been back there twice since my father died," said Linwood, who was a
restaurant employee and Mendon's part-time fire chief at the time of his father's death.
"I just have a little worm in my stomach."
Freeman Lowell began selling and delivering milk from horse and wagon in 1913, then
added ice cream and a soda fountain. His four children inherited the business after his
death in 1946, with Harold, a former part-time fire chief himself, serving as its manager.
He was the face of the business and loved it, Linwood said.
"This was his pride and joy," Linwood said. "He was the one who kept it operating and
going. To him, seven days a week was just common."
Harold was 70 on Oct. 26, 1974, when an intruder entered his restaurant around 10:30
p.m. and attacked him as he counted the night's receipts.
Harold fought back, calling police himself and escaping through a window, according to
Dot Lowell, Linwood's wife, said her husband heard the attack on his police scanner,
ran to the restaurant and spoke to his father before he was put in a police cruiser and
taken to Milford-Whitinsville Regional Hospital.
Rescuers and police came on the scanner with word Harold had died before the cruiser
made it to the hospital, Dot said.
"It was sad," she said. "It had a lot of good memories. But when Linwood's father was
killed there, that was the bad memory."
Several days after the murder, 19-year-old Robert DiPietro of Milford was charged. He
was later sentenced to jail, Dot said. The family, meanwhile, sold the restaurant to the
Hackensons two years later, in 1976.
But Linwood said even before the murder, he knew he didn't want to stay in the
restaurant business without his father.
"The April before he called me in the office and said, 'I think I want to retire and I want
you to take over the business,'" Linwood said. "I said right then to him, 'You retire, I walk
out right behind you.'" Milford Daily News, November 12, 2007.
Then and Now - Lowell's Dairy Fire at Lowell's Dairy
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Click here to go to fire at Lowell's Dairy