castle made of ... junk?
Students marvel at eclectic landmark
By Marianne Love Staff Writer
GLENDORA - Students from an elementary school took the first public tour
on Monday of Rubel Pharm and Castle, an eclectic mix of rock buildings, discarded
items and a renovated citrus packing house.
Third-graders from Cullen Elementary School trekked through the 1.7-acre
property previously owned by Michael Rubel. He orchestrated the work of thousands
of friends and volunteers over 26 years to build his dream compound at North
Live Oak Avenue and Palm Drive. It's located behind a 20-foot-high, cinder-block
wall and a massive wood and steel gate.
Rubel's crew took parts of bicycles, tires, shovels and the like and cemented
them in between the river rock that makes up many of the compound's walls.
"They had all this junk so they said `Let's stick it here because it
looks funny,"' tour guide Richard Macy told the students.
Other features of the
castle include a Santa Fe Railroad caboose, a 70-foot-tall clock tower
- which rings every
half hour - encased in rocks, automobiles
dating to the 1920s, a blacksmith area, a printing press room, three underground
"It's freaky," said
Robert Cortez, 8.
Rubel, 66, was not available for comment. He bought the secluded property
when he was 18.
He is described by friends as
eccentric, so he put out the word that he'd take whatever "junk" people
wanted to unload.
"It's weird," said
Andy Williams, 8. "All the stuff is coming out of
the walls like that toaster."
His treasures began to build with glass jars and bottles, tools and many
antique items such as a hand-wound Seth Thomas clock with working chimes
that have been deemed priceless.
Rubel's compound is also known as Rubel or Rubelia Farms, The Tin Palace
and The Bottle House.
The Bottle House was one of the first of the farm's structures and the highlight
of the field trip for Allison Griffitts.
"It was cool. The bottles were all glowing," Griffitts,
Rubel turned over the
place to the Glendora Historical Society last spring after he took ill.