The Pagoda



Undoubtedly, the Pagoda is Berks County’s most notable and curious landmark. The imposing structure has overlooked the City of Reading since its completion in 1908. William Whitman built the Pagoda as a luxury hotel to cover the eyesore his stone quarry created on Mt. Penn. The seven-story structure, anchored to the side of the mountain by 16 tons of bolts, was completed in 1908 for $50,000. However, a series of unfortunate events led to Whitman’s bankruptcy. In 1910, businessman Jonathan Mould, paid off Witman’s banknote in exchange for the deed to the Pagoda. The following year, he and his wife sold the building with its 11 acres to the City of Reading for $1. Since then, the Pagoda has been cared for by the citizens of Reading. In turn, the landmark has served the community in a number of ways, signaling fires, sports scores, election results, and even Santa’s arrival in Reading. It is the only Pagoda in the world with a fireplace and chimney.