National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Rubel Castle Historic District
Reference Number 13000810
State California
County Los Angeles
Town Glendora
Street Address 844 North Live Oak Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 10/3/2013
Areas of Significance Agriculture, Art, Architecture
Link to full file

The Rubel Castle Historic District is significant under Criterion A at the local level of significance for its association with the local citrus industry, which played a crucial role in the development of the area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Packing House and other citrus-related buildings remaining on the property are rare, remnant examples of citrus facilities that once dominated the landscape in this area. The period of significance under Criterion A is 1910-1949, representing the construction of the irrigation reservoir on the property, through the closure of the property as a working citrus ranch. The Rubel Castle Historic District is significant under Criterion C at the local level of significance as a unique, rare, and exceptional example of a folk art environment. 1 Typically these environments reflect the idiosyncratic visions of singular creators working with obsessive consistency over a period of years, during which time intuition replaces blueprints or formal planning toward the rebuilding process.2 The architect, builder , engineer, and resident of the castle, Michael Clarke Rubel, had no formal training in architecture, construction, or art, and no formal designs for the castle. Although Rubel held a job as a school bus driver, his primary occupation throughout his life was constructing the castle, which also served as his residence until a few years prior to his death in 2007. The result is a monumental folk art environment created by thousands of tons of alluvial boulders from nearby washes of the San Gabriel Mountains , and thousands of recycled and found objects . The Castle's recycled objects include everything from small, everyday household items to industrial-scale objects and remnants of the early agricultural and industrial development of the San Gabriel Valley. The Castle possesses high artistic value and embodies the drstinctive characteristics of handcrafted stone masonry, as seen in its central walls, buildings, and towers . The period of significance under Criterion C is 1959, when Michael Rubel acquired the property, through 1986, when the construction of the last component of the Castle was complete. Although it was completed fewer than 50 years ago , the Rubel Castle Historic District meets Criterion Consideration G for exceptional importance. It is a rare, monumental example of a folk art environment that has been celebrated nationally since the 1970s . It is one of Glendora's most important and visited landmarks. As Michael Rubel began work on the Castle, it quickly became a community project, in which Rubel's network of friends and associates, as well as Glendoran residents, contributed materials, equipment, labor, or leads on available objects and materials. The Rubel Castle Historic District reflects the characteristics identified for significant folk art environments in the 1978 Thematic Nomination for Twentieth-Century Folk Art Environments in California.

Drawings of Rubel Castle submitted by school children who visited the castle on school trips.




Weekly List Search Page

Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria