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  • Rubel Castle 4-19-17


An elaborate folk art castle with five-story tall towers, solidly built out of junk. 

Pictures taken by Jerry West Photography

Rubel Castle is called the working man's 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 & wondrous & truly dreamlike this place turned out to be. Rubel Castle is now run by the Glendora Historical Society, which comprises many members who had known Michael directly & share the same love & pride for the castle that Michael had himself. Excerpt taken from

Read more about Rubel Castle here at Wikipedia

Thanks to Don Baker for arranging this outing for Cal-Rods. 

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