Third graders from Cullen Elementary School take the first public tour of the Rubel Castle in Glendora. June 5, 2006. Photo by Nick MoffitA castle made of ... junk?
Students marvel at eclectic landmark
By Marianne Love, Staff Writer

GLENDORA - Students from an elementary school took the first public tour on Monday of Rubel Pharm and Castle, an eclectic mix of rock buildings, discarded items and a renovated citrus packing house.

Third-graders from Cullen Elementary School trekked through the 1.7-acre property previously owned by Michael Rubel. He orchestrated the work of thousands of friends and volunteers over 26 years to build his dream compound at North Live Oak Avenue and Palm Drive. It's located behind a 20-foot-high, cinder-block wall and a massive wood and steel gate.

Rubel's crew took parts of bicycles, tires, shovels and the like and cemented them in between the river rock that makes up many of the compound's walls.

"They had all this junk so they said `Let's stick it here because it looks funny,"' tour guide Richard Macy told the students.

Other features of the castle include a Santa Fe Railroad caboose, a 70-foot-tall clock tower - which rings every half hour - encased in rocks, automobiles dating to the 1920s, a blacksmith area, a printing press room, three underground “dungeons" and a drawbridge.

"It's freaky," said Robert Cortez, 8.

Rubel, 66, was not available for comment. He bought the secluded property when he was 18.

He is described by friends as eccentric, so he put out the word that he'd take whatever "junk" people wanted to unload.

"It's weird," said Andy Williams, 8. "All the stuff is coming out of the walls like that toaster."

His treasures began to build with glass jars and bottles, tools and many antique items such as a hand-wound Seth Thomas clock with working chimes that have been deemed priceless.

Rubel's compound is also known as Rubel Farms, Rubelia, or The Tin Palace.

The Bottle House was one of the first of the farm's structures and the highlight of the field trip for Allison Griffitts.

"It was cool. The bottles were all glowing," Griffitts, 8, said.

Michael Rubel turned over the place to the Glendora Historical Society after he took ill. For information about tours, see below, then contact the Historical Society, 626-963-0419.

Rubel Castle Tours

Tours are granted to 12-30 people from organized schools or organizations with a suggested tax deductible donation of $5 per person. No donations are asked of school or scouting groups.

If you want to consult about available tour dates before sending in the Tour Request Form, please call 626-963-0419 or send Annette Anderson a note . Larger tours can be scheduled, but require an additional docent, so an appointment is not guaranteed.

Tour Request Form Download (opens as a pdf) (more forms, such as liabillity release forms, can be found here)

It would be helpful if requests for all tours be made at least three weeks in advance. Individuals or small family groups not affiliated with insured groups may ask for tours but it is at our discretion if and when we can add some and bunch them together and then each would need to fill out a "waiver of liability" form prior to admission.

We would appreciate it if no children below the age of six come onto the property. The property is not wheel chair accessible. Strollers and walkers and high heel shoes are also advised against.

Michael Clarke Rubel passed away October 15, 2007.

Huell Howser's Rubel Castle Videolog Episode from 1990. (10 minutes)

This Videolog ©1990 Huell Howser


Get "One Man's Dream," the definitive book about Rubel Castle by Dave Traversi.Get the definitive book about Michael Rubel and the Castle.

More photographs of the first tour with Dick Macy.

Find out more about the castle by following this link to other links.

Filming at Rubel Castle

Order of the Unified Heart