Rubel Castle was the dream of one man who began building this eclectic structure in the early 1960s and eventually finished it in 1986. The structure is a legit castle, with a drawbridge, four story exterior wall, and even a dragon that guards the entrance. It reminded me of some of the other fascinating projects seen around California, like Nitt Witt Ridge and even Salvation Mountain. I love this kind of stuff, so I went for a tour and ended up spending a good half day just exploring all that the castle had to offer. If you are interested in seeing something unique like this in Southern California, then be sure to book a tour; it is the only way to visit. Here is all the information on Rubel Castle.
Rubel Castle is located right in the middle of a residential district in Glendora. Driving through the ordinary houses and arriving at the massive castle is an experience on its own. After parking, you will be met outside for your tour and let in.
Here is a video I made on the tour.
Rubel Castle Tour
It is impossible to try and explain everything you will see on the tour and all of the stories you will hear about the castle’s creation and the people that visited, but here are some of the highlights.
First, the property was the work of one man, Micheal Rubel, but he had a lot of help from friends and relatives coming together to bring the project come to life.
The castle was built inside of a concrete reservoir that was used to supply water to the citrus trees that once covered the surrounding area.
As the citrus industry changed, the reservoir was no longer needed, and it was sold to Michael Rubel, who built his first small house right in the middle. This structure (known as the bottle house) is still here today, and the castle basically surrounds it.
The tour helps you see how massive this structure is. I was there for 3 hours and probably still only saw about 30% of what there was to see.
The castle was built mostly of recycled materials, with many donated from local residents and businesses. One of the stories is how a local headstone maker would contribute any misspelled headstones and that many of the headstones were put into the walls. The castle entrance is another highlight. Here the castle walls open to allow you through the concrete reservoir and into the interior of the castle.
There is even a dragon inside the tunnel that guards the castle from intruders. It’s the little things like this that are so fun to see.
The next highlight was the Tin Palace. This building is large and has multiple citrus refrigeration rooms that served as bedrooms for Micheal and some of his family that lived on the property.
This room was also the place where many parties were held, and there is a famous story of when Dwight Eisenhower visited and got stuck in the elevator that led to the wine cellar.
Stories like this are the reason to take the tour. There are so many amazing stories over the years, and there is even a book in the gift shop that you can buy that collects many of them.
From the Tin Palace, you can enter the castle and see the blacksmith area, which a local blacksmith club uses on the weekends.
There is also a clock tower with a working Seth Thomas clock (restored and built in 1911) and a bell that rings on the hour. It sits at around 75 feet tall, and it is a historic and fascinating spot to see.
The rest of the castle has many rooms that are rented out to private residents, so you can’t see those rooms. It must be pretty cool to live in a place like this.
The last area we saw was the Santa Fe Caboose from the 1940s, which has been retrofitted into a makeshift apartment, even though no one currently lives there. It is awesome to see something like this here, and it adds to the folk art charm of the place.
I really enjoyed my time here, and I highly recommend you take a tour of the property if you get a chance. Again, this is just a tiny portion of the castle, and I imagine that every tour is probably a little different. Let me know what you think in the comments.