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 ... repurposed materials?
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 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 or Rubelia Farms, The Tin Palace and The Bottle House.

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.

Rubel turned over the place to the Glendora Historical Society last spring after he took ill.



More Photographs of the Cullen School Tour

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

Filming at Rubel Castle

Order of the Unified Heart