Situated in the heart of Utah Valley between the east
shore of Utah Lake and the towering Wasatch Mountains is the city of
Timpanogos (elevation 11,957 feet) dominates the northern view from
the city. Other rugged mountains east of the city provide one of the
most picturesque backdrops for a Utah city.
Utah Valley was
the traditional home of Ute Indians, who settled
in villages close to the lake both for protection from bellicose tribes
to the northeast and to be close to their primary source of food--fish
from the lake. The first white visitors to the Provo area were Fray
Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and
Fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante,
who visited Utah Valley in 1776. Only a retrenchment in Spanish New
World colonization and missionary efforts prevented establishment of
settlements promised by these Franciscan missionaries.
and traders frequented the area in the early decades of the nineteenth
century, and it is from one of these trappers, Etienne
Provost, that Provo takes its name.
Provo was settled
by Mormons in 1849, and was the first Mormon
colony in Utah outside of Salt Lake Valley. Troubles with Indians gave
rise to a popular saying in early Utah: "Provo or hell!" When President
James Buchanan sent United States troops to Salt Lake City to put down
the "Mormon insurrection" in 1858, thousands of Mormons, including leader Brigham Young, moved to Provo. "The
Move South" came to a quick end as the Mormons were "pardoned" and new
governor Alfred Cumming made peace with the Saints.