A castle in Glendora

Crazy as it sounds there is an actual castle in the sleepy little bedroom community of Glendora, California. Rubel Castle is owned by the Glendora Historical Society and is open for tours on specific days during the month. If you would like to schedule a tour contact The Glendora Historical Society. The historical society requires each person to fill out a waiver. On the day of the tour, it is $20 per person to enter.

A Dream

Michael Rubel acquired the land in 1959. It was 2 acres, a reservoir, and a citrus packing building. After Rubel secured the land he decided to pursue his dream of building a castle. One of the first rooms that Rubel Built was “The Bottle Room.” He used leftover bottles from the parties his mother threw to construct the walls.

The Bottle Room

Building a Castle

Our tour guide told us Rubel didn’t have the funds to build a castle fortunately he had a very gregarious personality and relied on his friends to help him build. The main part of Rubel Castle was constructed with concrete and rocks. Because Rubel didn’t have the money to purchase materials people in the community donated countless items to the castle. While touring the castle I saw bottles, bedsprings, old cassette players, coffee pots, hangers, and a myriad of other abandoned objects. All of the rock was hauled out of the Canyons above Glendora to keep building costs low. Rubel would hold large construction parties. His friends would show up to help him build and Rubel cooked a big lunch for everyone. In 1986, Rubel declared the construction of Rubel Castle was complete.

There is random junk hanging on the walls of Rubel Castle.

Every Castle Needs a Clocktower

The castle is 22,000 square feet with five-story high towers. After seeing Big Ben in London Rubel dreamed of a clock tower and he went on an endless quest to find the perfect clock. Lack of money almost stood in the way of Rubel acquiring his dream clock. Luckily, one of Rubel’s friends became his benefactor and purchased a restored 1890 Seth Thomas clock. The clock is still running the brass bells that are the crown of Rubel Castle.

Current Castle Grounds

Today a caretaker and a few residents live on the grounds in self-contained apartments, but Rubel Castle is unoccupied. Walking around the castle grounds is like stepping back in time. Antique cars and tractors are parked in the garages and are often brought out to participate in parades in Glendora. In the center of the property is a 1940s Santa Fe Caboose that was relocated from San Dimas, CA. The caboose is now used as a guest house for the permanent residents. Be sure and check out the headstones in the cemetery. All of the headstones contain mistakes and Rubel received them for free. There are no actual bodies in the cemetery.

An old Santa Fe Caboose

Famous Visitors at the Castle

Michale Rubel’s mother Dorothy Deuel Rubel was a Vaudeville dancer and had many famous friends. She threw countless parties on the castle grounds. Some of the noteworthy people who have visited the castle include Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and Alfred Hitchcock. In 1990 Huell Howser interviewed Rubel for videolog.

Unique California Attractions

Rubel built his castle with determination and found objects. There are two similar attractions in Southern California. Tio’s Tacos in Riverside and Watts Tower in Los Angeles.

A Tour of the Castle

Tours are led by docents and last approximately 90 minutes, unfortunately, they are not ADA-accessible. You will be walking on uneven surfaces and upstairs. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes. Children under the age of 8 are not allowed to tour the castle.

The castle even has a drawbridge.

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