Rubel Castle: Glendora’s secret attraction

On the north side of Rubel Castle on East Palm Drive in Glendora, the bell chimes at 9:23 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2017. Rubel Castle attracts crowds from across the San Gabriel Valley, due to its eccentric feel and unique architecture. Photo by Jacqueline Torres / Clarion

Tucked away in the Foothills, a medieval-style castle peaks above the quiet suburban neighborhoods of Glendora.

Michael Rubel began working on a castle in 1968 with the help of hundreds of people. Some would help for only one day, while others would continue to help for years.

After 20 years, Rubel was successful in his construction of Rubel Castle in the heart of the city.

Rubel was a world traveler and an all-embracing individual, sometimes perceived as an “outcast.”

“Every time Michael Rubel tried something he would get into trouble for doing what he would do, he just kept doing what he wanted to do and he overcame a lot of obstacles, things he would get himself in he would never think of the consequences,” Jim Riley, president of the Glendora Historical Society, said in a phone interview.

The property was originally a Citrus fruit packing house built in the orange growing days of Glendora in the 1930s.

The property belonged to Arthur K. Bourne and Rubel.

The castle is now owned by the Glendora Historical Society, which offers tours by appointment in order to teach more about Glendora’s history.

Rubel Castle has a tour that includes seeing blacksmiths at the castle working, looking at objects from the 1870s to 1940s, like old printers, parts of a train, trucks and cars.

The tour also includes the Tin Palace and its refrigerator rooms, which became bedrooms to four generations of the Rubel family.

Rubel’s nephew Scott Rubel’s room features antique artifacts, such as old paintings music records, an old organ piano player and books.

Rubel, and those who helped build the castle, incorporated their own personal touch.

Recycled materials such as bicycle wheels, champagne bottles and coat hangers can be spotted throughout the stacked stones.

“My favorite memory of the castle was all the people we knew in the ’60s and ’70s who helped build the place,” Scott in a phone interview said.

The most famous artifact is a clock made in the 1890s that reminds visitors of Glendora’s history every half hour and every hour.

“It’s an interesting place to visit. It reminds people what they can do if they have a dream. If you can dream it you can achieve it,” Riley said.

The Glendora Historical Society website says that group tours of more than 12 people must be requested three to four weeks in advance and tours are limited to a maximum of 50 people.

Rubel gifted his Rubel Castle and its collections to the Glendora Historical Society through his will in an agreement finalized Feb. 25, 2005, the Glendora Society Website said.

It is owned and operated by the Glendora Historical Society.

The requested tour donation for children 8 to 12 is $5 and for adults is $10.

Children under 8 years old are not allowed on the castle’s premises.

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Adriana Aguilar was once a student from Azusa High School and graduated from Adult Ed School. She loves coffee and the song M83 MIDNIGHT CITY. Someday, Adriana wishes to become a Public Relations Specialist for Mental Health organizations.


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