The future of the Philo T. Farnsworth statue representing Utah in the U.S. Capitol remains in limbo, but if local officials have their way, Farnsworth will be coming to Rigby.
Rigby has already submitted an application for the statue. The timeframe to apply ended Jan. 3. The Martha Hughes Cannon Oversight Committee will meet Jan. 21 to review and discuss the applications, but committee executive director Erin Wynn said no decisions will likely be made at that time.
Wynn said the committee has received multiple applications from Utah and Idaho. Prior to the deadline, Wynn said California organizations had also expressed interest, but she said no applications came from the golden state.
Wynn said the Farnsworth statue will be removed from the Capitol in July or early August to make room for Martha Hughes Cannon in late August. She said the hope is to make a decision on Farnsworth’s new home relatively quickly so the statue recipient can make preparations. However, Wynn said about half of oversight committee members have other duties within the Utah legislature, which may delay the decision.
If the Martha Hughes Cannon Oversight Committee selects Rigby as Farnsworth’s new home, multiple Rigby officials have said they believe the statue could attract the business of tourists who come to the area to visit Yellowstone National Park. The application states having the statue would allow Rigby to share “our local history with visitors from around the globe.”
If the statue does come to Rigby, the exact location for the statue within the city is still uncertain, however. On the application, four possibilities are listed: Jefferson County Courthouse, Rigby City Library, The Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, and Rigby High School. Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson said when he reached out, oversight committee members told him the city could list several places.
Rigby’s application details the possibilities of exhibiting Farnsworth at each location, describes Farnsworth’s history in the Rigby area and indicates locals and visitors alike would be inspired by the statue.
Rigby’s application notes “Farnsworth” is integrated into the names of city streets, Farnsworth Elementary School and the Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, and that the Rigby logo reading “The Birthplace of Television” can be found throughout the city.
“I think it honors our heritage and the history of Rigby,” Richardson said of the statue. “I also think that it will make our little town more visible to the people who pass through — it’s just one more icon that we have in town that people can visit and reflect on what our community has contributed to the world.”