The Reading Pagoda - Reading, Pennsylvania
Originally the centerpiece of a planned luxury resort, the Pagoda in Reading, Pennsylvania has become the symbol for the entire town.
Built atop Mount Penn in 1908 by local quarry owner, William A. Witman, the seven-story Japanese-inspired building was to be the main attraction at a tourist resort. Unfortunately Witman was unable to obtain a liquor license and the project’s funds dried up leaving the majestic pagoda as a strangely out-of-place oddity. In 1910, the building and its surrounding ten acres were given over to a local businessman who, recognizing the iconic influence the building was beginning to have on the community, sold the structure and its land to the city of Reading for the amount of $1.
Despite some neglect owing to anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II, the city of Reading has restored and cared for the grounds ever since, and the pagoda has indeed become the symbol of the community.
Keep reading more of the Reading Pagoda’s history on Atlas Obscura…