Made of leftover bottles, found motorcycles, rocks, concrete and countless other pieces of junk, Glendora’s Rubel Castle is one of Southern California’s oddest buildings.

Rubel Castle (also known as Rubelia) was established in Glendora, California, by Michael Clarke Rubel (April 16, 1940 – October 15, 2007). It has been called "a San Gabriel Valley version of Watts Towers.”

Rubel Castle (also known as Rubelia) was established in Glendora, California, by Michael Clarke Rubel (April 16, 1940 – October 15, 2007). It has been called “a San Gabriel Valley version of Watts Towers.”

Rubel Castle was constructed partly out of concrete but also out of scrap steel, rocks, bedsprings, coat hangers, bottles, and other pieces of junk that Rubel found.

It was constructed partly out of concrete but also out of scrap steel, rocks, bedsprings, coat hangers, bottles, and other pieces of junk that Rubel found.

My red hat girls.

My red hat girls were a blast to tour with.

The security system is very hi-tech.

The security system is very hi-tech.

Horse Barn

Horse Barn

Rubel's father, Henry "Heinz" Scott Rubel, had been an Episcopalian minister and gag writer for radio comedians.

Rubel’s father, Henry “Heinz” Scott Rubel, had been an Episcopalian minister and gag writer for radio comedians.

Michael's tombstone in the cemetery. No real bodies are buried here. The fake cemetery was an interesting addition because with every new headstone added it gave Michael the excuse to throw a lively bash for his friends under the guise of a wake.

Michael’s tombstone in the cemetery. No real bodies are buried here. The fake cemetery was an interesting addition because with every new headstone added it gave Michael the excuse to throw a lively bash for his friends under the guise of a wake.

Isn't he funny.

When Rubel was a boy, he used to swim in the two-million-gallon reservoir on the sprawling citrus ranch owned by Al Bourne, heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune. Bourne worried that kids would be hurt in his reservoir, so he chased the boy away dozens of times, and Rubel would tell the rich man, “Someday I’m going to buy this from you.”

Rubel purchased a 2½ acre citrus orchard on which the structure resides in 1959. He and his friends completed construction in 1986. Rubelia is considered the first major recycling project in the United States.

Rubel purchased the 2½ acre citrus orchard on which the structure resides in 1959. He and his friends completed construction in 1986. Rubelia is considered the first major recycling project in the United States. The house combined Michael’s longing for peace and quiet with another passion of his: amateur construction. Even as a child, Rubel would make castles and forts in the junk yard near his home.

Vintage Charles De Gaulle’s bullet proof automobile.

A vintage Charles De Gaulle’s bullet proof automobile sits in one of the garages.

Glendora Swingers Club

Glendora Swingers Club

Farm Trucker

The land the castle sits on was originally an orange packing farm that a then 18-year-old Michael Rubel had purchased. Michael and his family soon moved in, converting packing warehouses into  sprawling people houses, where Dorothy Rubel, his socialite, actress mother, played hostess constantly, sometimes to hundreds of people.

Farm Jeep

Farm Jeep

All aboard!

The Red Caboose

All aboard!

All aboard!

There are 5 residences on the property that occasionally come up for rent. Guests often stay in the Santa Fe caboose which had to be craned over the walls in order to make it into the castle walls.

There are 5 residences on the property that occasionally come up for rent. Guests often stay in the Santa Fe caboose which had to be craned over the walls in order to make it into the castle walls.

Drawbridge closed...we're in!

Drawbridge closed…we’re in!

When he was 18, Michael Rubel 'bought' 2.5 acres of a citrus orchard in Glendora, CA. Therein he quickly set to fulfilling his childhood dream of owning and living in a real castle.

Volunteers hand-wind the clock daily, and it chimes on the half-hour.

Dragon Tales

Dragon Tales

This small bottle house is what Michael originally lived in while creating the castle.

This small bottle house is what Michael originally lived in while creating the castle, which includes a total of 60 rooms.

Shortly before his death in 2007, Rubel turned over the castle to the Glendora Historical Society.

Every castle needs a cannon.

The building of Rubel Castle started in 1968 and continued for 18 years. It was really a town-wide project, with friends and volunteers lured by a party-like atmosphere of food and drink, but also by their love for Michael and helping him fulfill his crazy dreams.

The castle includes apartments, artist studios, printing presses, pottery studios.

A janky fountain in between one of the residences on the property.

A janky fountain in between one of the residences on the property.

Hmmmm?

Hmmmm?

Much of the foundation is the underground walls of the old reservoir. The castle’s walls, hand-built of San Gabriel River rock, are studded with every imaginable castoff: a toaster, the rear end of a motorcycle, a telephone, a variety of small sculptures.

Much of the foundation is the underground walls of the old reservoir. The castle’s walls, hand-built of San Gabriel River rock, are studded with every imaginable castoff: a toaster, the rear end of a motorcycle, a telephone, a variety of small sculptures.

Watching a brief 10 minute 'California's Gold' episode that Huell shot in 1990. I remember watching the exact same episode and always wanting to check the place out.

Watching a brief 10 minute ‘California’s Gold’ episode that Huell shot in 1990. I remember watching the exact same episode and always wanting to check the place out.

Bottle Hall Escape Passage

Bottle Hall Escape Passage

Inside Michael's larger home within the grounds.

Inside Michael’s larger home within the grounds.

Everyone who was anyone in Hollywood came at least once to one of the castle's parties, a claim that’s easy to believe when you see this vast space, jammed with Victorian furniture, an old truck, pianos, a model train set, a gorgeous canoe, wireless sets and about 10,000 more things, including an organ in perfect tune.

Everyone who was anyone in Hollywood came at least once to one of the castle’s parties, a claim that’s easy to believe when you see this vast space, jammed with Victorian furniture, an old truck, pianos, a model train set, a gorgeous canoe, wireless sets and about 10,000 more things, including an organ in perfect tune. The Tin Palace, as the home was known back then, entertained guests like Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, even Dwight Eisenhower.

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Rubel grew ill in 2005 and donated his property to the Glendora Historical Society; he passed away in 2007. The society manages the five apartments in the various buildings; the tenants are all artists who don’t mind the funky living conditions (let’s just say you need a certain tolerance for spiders and the crowing of the resident roosters) and who draw inspiration from the setting. They help maintain the place, tend the chickens and organic garden, and meet on Sundays in the common kitchen for brunch.

Rubel grew ill in 2005 and donated his property to the Glendora Historical Society; he passed away in 2007. The society manages the five apartments in the various buildings; the tenants are all artists who don’t mind the funky living conditions (let’s just say you need a certain tolerance for spiders and the crowing of the resident roosters) and who draw inspiration from the setting. They help maintain the place, tend the chickens and organic garden, and meet on Sundays in the common kitchen for brunch. Rubel Castle Tours are by Reservation Only. To make tour reservations by phone, please call the Glendora Historical Society at: (626) 963-0419.