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Posted on Sep 23, 2019 in Blog, Chuck and Dave's Faves | No Comments

“If there was ever a person who deserved to be commemorated by a strong, balanced and all things good beer – it is Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy. He was an amazing individual and huge influence on the place we call home, the Black Hills. He’s definitely my favorite person in Black Hills history and the inspiration for our Imperial Red IPA, simply named: Dr. Valentine. If history bores you, stop reading now and head for the Taproom for a Dr. Valentine Imperial Red IPA. If you enjoy a bit of history, keep reading to find out why we think he deserves to have a beer named after him.

Image Courtesy: 1881 Courthouse, Museum, Custer

After graduating from the Detroit Medical School at just 20 years of age, Dr. V practiced medicine for only one year before becoming a surgeon and topographer. This led him to the Black Hills during the time of General Custer, with the intent of surveying Black Elk Peak. He used a felled pine tree as a makeshift ladder to summit Black Elk Peak and became the first white man to reach the summit.

Dr. Valentine was very influential in Native American relations in this area as well. He became the only white man Crazy Horse trusted and was even called on to treat Crazy Horse’s wife when she was sick with tuberculosis. The Sioux gave Dr. V the name: “Tasunka Witko Kola” (Crazy Horse’s friend). He was one of the first to work toward sustainable relations between the U.S. and Native Americans and even organized an Indian police force, to assure fair treatment of Native Americans.

Image Courtesy: 1881 Courthouse, Museum, Custer

Dr. Valentine and his wife Fanny moved to Rapid City and built a mansion which can still be seen on Mt. Rushmore Rd. He wasn’t done yet, he later became a surgeon in the military, president of Lakota Bank, Dean of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and was appointed as South Dakota’s first State Surgeon General.

He passed away in 1939 and his ashes can be found at the top of Black Elk Peak. The plaque that was installed on the staircase to the look out tower reads: “Valentine T. McGillycuddy, ′Wasicu Wakan′, 1849–1939″ (in Lakota, Wasicu Wakan means ″Holy White Man).

He always gave his best not just for himself but for others, and that’s reason enough for me to toast a beer (and name a beer) in honor of Dr. Valentine.” – Dave Fields, Senior Brewery Lead

See our full beer menu here.