Nestled into a lovely spot that can be best described as the middle of nowhere, John Rigg has a little place that he calls The Robot Hut. Getting to The Robot Hut is like taking a page out of a Norman Rockwell painting: the roads are small and winding, the drivers all wave at you as you pass them by, and the pasture scrub is often brown unless you go to visit this place in the Spring.
Located in Elk, WA, which is a little unincorporated corner of the state close to Spokane and the Idaho border, you’re more likely to see a broken tractor being towed by a farmer than advanced tech concepts on these back roads. Yet in the middle of it all is The Robot Hut, a place you can only tour by appointment, because so many people want to come see it.
That’s right – to visit, you’ve got to send John an e-mail. He’ll tell you if he’s got time for your visit.
His Big Red Barn Is a Brand New World
You’ve probably seen Rigg’s robot work without even realizing it. Though his robots have been featured on Discovery’s Science channel, he’s done work on shows like SeaQuest DSV and The Big Bang Theory. Even if you haven’t seen his work,what Rigg does is known on a global scale, even if he does live in a place where all you can see is farmland. Many will save their money just so they can purchase one of his robot creations and when his robots do go to auction, they sell for several thousand dollars at a minimum.
When you step into the big red barn, appropriately emblazoned with a giant robot on the side of it, you are truly entering a brand new world of creativity. Robots are in various stages of development, from Rigg’s newest thoughts to his completed works, of which he is quite proud. There are rows upon rows of robots, but there are also full-sized replications of some of Rigg’s favorite robots of all time. That’s what makes visiting The Robot Hut such a special adventure for so many.
There Is No Robot That Isn’t Welcome
Tucked in with the Santa Claus robots, the God robots, or even Steve the robot butler are some very recognizable robot faces: Tobor, B-9, Johnny Five, R2D2, C3PO, and even Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Silent Running. The robots tower overhead, yet seem friendly, warm, and inviting. That’s all because of the love that Rigg puts into the creation of each robot. If you get the chance, ask him to pull down the binders of pictures that he has of robots that he was commissioned to create.
Then there’s the pinball games with robot themes that dominate one corner of the big red barn. While his neighbors are slaving out on their farms in the hot Summer sun, Rigg is undoubtedly tucked into this cool corner of Elk paradise, having a wonderful time in the company of all his robot friends.
It really must be a good life.