Glendora, California: Rubel Castle Team Field Report

844 N. Live Oak Ave., Glendora, CA
North edge of town. From Route 66 turn north at the stoplight onto Elwood Ave. Drive a half-mile. At the stop sign turn left onto Foothill Blvd, then make the first right onto N. Live Oak Ave. Drive one mile. You'll see the walled castle compound on the right, just before the stop sign at Palm Drive.
Tours by appt only. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Tours $20. Cash only.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Rubel Castle.

Rubel Castle

Elaborate folk art medieval castle with five-story tall towers was solidly built out of junk and river rocks by the late Michael Rubel and his friends, some of whom still live in it. Report... [05/15/2022]

Visitor Tips and News About Rubel Castle

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Rubel Pharm and Castle.

Rubel Pharm and Castle

The interesting story of Rubel Castle: Michael Rubel was born in Glendora. Michael's Mom was an ex-Greenwich Village Follies dancer, and though the family was of average means he grew up surrounded by her elaborate parties and extremely famous Hollywood party guests such as Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock and Dwight Eisenhower.

From an early age the only thing that really drove him was constructing elaborate forts, some several stories high. Michael was not interested in having a regular career and his future seemed questionable.

Thankfully, Michael's charisma was powerful enough that he convinced a rich benefactor to gift him 2 1/2 acres of land. He also had hundreds of friends who were willing to donate their time and their resources to helping him build the ultimate fort: a castle.

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.

Michael passed away in 2007 and is described as having lived a happy life. His legacy -- an elaborate castle made of stones gathered locally and objects found at the Glendora dump -- had towers , a drawbridge, a functioning blacksmith studio and a fake cemetery in which there are dozens of tombstones, but no actual graves.

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.

Describing Rubel's creation it is nearly impossible to interweave enough magic into the story to fully elaborate how special and wondrous and truly dreamlike this place turned out to be. My advice is to visit and take part in the extremely interesting 2-hour docent-led tour. Rubel Castle is now run by the Glendora Historical Society, which comprises many members who had known Michael directly and share the same love and pride for the castle that Michael had himself.

They have open group tours the 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Friday of the month, but reservations must be made in advance. There is a small tour donation which goes towards upkeep of the castle.

[Nikki Kreuzer, 02/14/2013]

The castle.

Rubel Pharm and Castle

The working man's castle, more historical oddity than tourist trap. Worth the time.

[Ed Eldridge, 08/19/2012]

Rubel Pharm and Castle

Rubel Pharm and Castle

This crazy castle was built by a guy named Michael Rubel starting in the late '60s - it's a work of folk art gone wild, ala Watts Towers, but on an even bigger scale. He died in 2007, and since then the castle has been taken over by the Glendora Historical Society.

It seems that you can only get in and see the place if you contact them first to organize a tour. They seem to cater to groups, preferably from a recognized organization. So, my idea: roadside America junkies band together to get in! ... I want ... to see it ... so badly...

[Emily Van Patten, 01/07/2009]

Aug 2012: Photo added.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Moreton Bay Fig TreeBig Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Glendora, CA - 2 mi.
Giant Olmec HeadGiant Olmec Head, Covina, CA - 5 mi.
Jedediah Smith, Mountain ManJedediah Smith, Mountain Man, San Dimas, CA - 4 mi.
In the region:
Crossroads of the World, Los Angeles, CA - 28 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Tail o' the Pup, West Hollywood, California (Jan 30-Feb 5, 2023)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings