The expedition of two Spanish Franciscan priests generated the first heartbeat of Catholicism in Utah. Francisco Atanazio Dominguez and Silvestre V. de Escalante left Santa Fe in search of an overland route to Monterey. They circled northward through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona before returning to New Mexico, the first known non-Native Americans to enter the land that became Utah. Traveling without military escort, they bridged the cultures of white man and Native American and drew the first maps ever made of Utah. A thirty-seven-foot steel cross stands today in Spanish Fork Canyon to mark their entry into Utah Valley on 23 September 1776.
[Source: Utah History Encyclopedia: Catholic Church in Utah, http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/]