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Take a Day Off for the San Gabriel Valley: Tour of Rubel Castle

  • Aug 12, 2011 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

  Please note: I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate memmebrs. This is part fo a series events taking place on the same day. They are all a la carte, meaning you don't have to attend the other events to attend this one. You will need to fill-out and sign a waiver release form to participate in this event. Carefully read all the details below before you RSVP 'Yes' for the event.


Aboput 2 or 3 years ago, Abby hosted a couple of tours to Rubel Castle. I was unable to go at the time, so this is when I finally get to cross it off my Bucket List. I don't plan on hosting another tour of this place so I suggest signing up for this one.

Rubel Castle (also known as Rubelia) was established in Glendora, California, by Michael Clarke Rubel [1] It has been called "a San Gabriel Valley version of Watts Towers.” [2] (April 16, 1940-October 15, 2007).

Rubel purchased a 2 ½ acre citrus orchard on which the structure resides in 1959. He and his friends completed construction in 1986. Rubelia is considered the first major recycling project in the United States, according to David Traversi, who authored One Man's Dream: The Spirit of the Rubel Castle. [3]

Rubel Castle was constructed partly out of concrete, but also out of scrap steel, rocks, bedsprings, coat hangers, bottles and other pieces of junk that Rubel found.

Construction of the castle An orange crate label from Rubel Farms.

Though Michael slept in one of the giant citrus refrigerators, the walls of thick cork were not sufficient sound insulation to allow him peace from his mother’s parties. In 1968 Michael fired up his cement mixer and, with a pile of discarded champagne bottles, began building himself a small get-away house in the center of his empty old 16-million gallon concrete reservoir. The high walls of the reservoir provided privacy and a noise barrier while he built his bottle house. Thus began a building spree that lasted twenty years, culminating in what is now called the Rubel Castle.

He began adding material to a pre-existing metal water tower. [4] With the encouragement of old timers like Odo Stade, and with the help of many friends and relations, the castle grew to be thousands of square feet with towers five stories high. Rubel and his associates built the structure without architectural plans, utilizing salvaged river rock, cement, steel, aluminum, telephone poles and wine bottles. [2] Old motorcycles, tires, sand-filled rubber gloves, a camera, a golf club and a toaster are some of the items that protrude from the castle. [2]

A restored 1896 Seth Thomas clock works runs the brass bells and clock that crown one of the high towers, which is 74 feet (23 m) high. In the middle of the property sit a 1940s-era Santa Fe caboose, as well as old trucks and tractors. There is also a cemetery with rejected marble tombstones (but no graves). [2]

In addition, “chickens are abundant and love this property as well as frequent animal visitors.” [4]

The tour lasts for 90 minutes with no restroom breaks in between.

Yelp reviews on Rubel Castle:

Link to review Adult Waiver that you will need to sign before entering the premises:

Important Considerations for Touring the Castle Property

1. As stated on the home page the Rubel Castle is NOT ADA accessible, see warning box below.


The Rubel Castle/Pharm property is not ADA accessible:

  • NO tour participation is allowed via wheelchairs, walkers, or cart assistance
  • There are stairs, tunnels, and uneven surfaces
  • There are no sidewalks
  • There are no handrails
  • Walking surfaces include gravel and bare ground
  • There are no rest benches along touring routes
  • Wear sturdy footwear - Heels, flip-flops, and sandals are NOT recommended for touring
  • A walking and standing ability of at least a 90-minute stamina level is advised for tours
  • Restroom facilities (2) require agility and balance due to steps and no handrails

Clock Tower Inside the Bottle House Truck Sprayer Door Detail Land Ship Drink Coke

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  • Rita

    Amazing place. Thank you Robert for organizing tihs event. I would have never seen it if it wasn't for you.

    August 13, 2011

5 went

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