Peter Bubel

Reading, Pennsylvania

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The History of the Reading Pagoda

The History of the Reading Pagoda

When traveling to Reading, Pa, one of the first things you will notice from the highway is a red pagoda overlooking the city. During the night you can see its glowing red light as sits on the hillside. A lot of visitors often question why the Eastern Asian inspired pagoda exists in central Pennslyvania. Today we will answer that question as we look into the story of Reading Pagoda.

Traveling back to 1908, the pagoda was completed at the mere price of $50,000 and was commissioned by William A. Witman, Sr. If the same structure was built today, it would cost over 1.4 million! The pagoda was built on 10 acres of land and stands seven stories tall, 28 feet wide, and 50 feet long! The pagoda sits 620 feet above the city of Reading, and 866 feet above sea level. Although the pagoda is similar to a pagoda you would find in East Asia, it is the only pagoda in the world to have a fireplace and chimney!

On the 7th floor, you will find a bell that was cast in Japan in 1739 that was originally installed in a Buddhist temple. The bell was bought by Witman at the begging of the pagoda’s construction in1906. From Japan, it was shipped to arrive in America by the Suez Canal to New York Harbor. It finally arrived in Reading by rail on May 5th, 1907.

Back in the 1900s, the pagoda was created to be a hotel/restaurant of a luxury resort. However, the plans to build a resort were abandoned. Witman never got the chance to open the pagoda after the bank foreclosure and being denied a liquor license. On April 21, 1911 structure on was donated to the City of Reading.

There were calls to demolish the building during WWII, but the structure was restored in 1949. In the 1960s, neon lighting was added to the outlining of its roofs which gives the pagoda its recognizable glow. In the 1970s the Japanese garden was brought back to life and Japanese cherry trees were planted around the building.

Today the Pagoda is apart of the Mount Penn Reserve and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It continues to serve as an icon for the City of Reading and is beloved by all of its citizens. If you get a chance to visit try out the cafe, check out the gift shop and take in the beautiful scenic views.


Best Places to Eat in Reading, PA

Best Places to Eat in Reading, PA

Although Reading, PA is not the most known city in Philadelphia, it surely is one of the best to visit. Not only are there countless fun things to do while visiting this small city, but there are also amazing places to grab a bite to eat. Out of all the great restaurants to choose from, these should be at the top of your list to try:

The Ugly Oyster

For a great dinner spot with a tasty selection, head to The Ugly Oyster. While there, make sure to try the Boardwalk French Fries, which happens to be their specialty. It is made with their homemade french fries that are cut by hand then deep-fried in peanut oil, lightly spiced them, and served piping hot. Other crowd favorites include their crab dip and smokin’ cheese platter.

Frank & Diannah’s Arbor

A spot loved by locals is Frank & Diannah’s Arbor. Not only do they prepare amazing cuisine, but they also offer great dishes for those with dietary restrictions. Anyone who vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free won’t have a probably finding something good to eat. They serve American and international cuisine along with a full-service bar with incredible beer and wine selections.

Brewer’s Bar and Grill

For cheap eats and a great pub environment, Brewer’s Bar and Grill it the perfect choice. This bar is an awesome choice for lunch or dinner while watching local sports games. Known for their flavorful hot wings, great beer selection, and delicious sandwiches. Make sure this spot is on your list of places to try. 

Judy’s On Cherry

If you’re looking for high-class experience, look no further than Judy’s On Cherry. Their prices may tip the scale a bit, but they are known for their exquisite dishes. They offer a Mediterranean-inspired fine dining restaurant with a special small-town feel. This is an incredible for intimate and celebration dining.

About Peter Bubel

He was born in Fort Carson, Colorado at the Army Base Hospital and attended Penn State University, earning a degree in finance before getting his first job in Allentown at Dun and Bradstreet. Peter then worked in Philadelphia before transferring to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he’s lived and worked for the past 25 years.

Because Peter Bubel has learned the ins and outs of his community over the past two and a half decades, he is able to provide the best real estate services for clients from all walks of life. Peter and his family own and run PANA Rentals, a property management company that provides a variety of student, residential, and commercial property management services. Peter currently owns and manages between 50 and 100 properties. He particularly likes to help Penn State Berks Campus students find off-campus housing.

Peter Bubel loves the “small town” feeling of Reading combined with its proximity to major cities, and he does housing work in this area as well. Peter is an advocate for local affordable housing and economic improvement, and he has served on numerous housing committees and coalitions. He works with nonprofit agencies that help first-time home buyers prosper in the area, and he also shares his knowledge through various media to empower young individuals to take control of their economic outlooks. Peter Bubel has a guest spot on Berks Community Television’s Local Issues Forum, where he discusses housing and banking strategies. He has also shared his strategies via finance and entrepreneurship lectures at Albright College and St. Joseph’s University.

Peter Bubel is also a firm believer in giving back to the community.

He participates in a number of local initiatives, including the Berks MINDCO (Minority Development Council) and Housing Advisory task force. He also presents seminars in the Berks County Chamber of Commerce and works within various budgeting and stewardship committees at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in West Lawn, Pennsylvania.

As a Penn State alumnus himself, Peter Bubel remains involved with the college and loves to attend PSU football games. His older daughter currently attends Penn State and is active in campus volunteering and fundraising efforts. She shares that philanthropic spirit with her father; Peter is the past president and vice president of Reading-Berks Habitat for Humanity, Inc. Under his guidance the affiliate was able to complete the construction of over 30 low-income homes. Peter is also a former board member of Goodwill Industries of the Keystone Area, and he currently volunteers his services at Reading Public Museum, the Children’s Home of Reading, and Boy Scouts of America.

Peter Bubel is a proud supporter of the military. His father was in the United States Army, and to this day Peter is inspired by his father’s service and by the service of current troops.

Peter Bubel outside of work

Health and fitness play a major part in Peter’s life and he stays active by playing a number of sports, especially golf and his weekly tennis games. Peter’s family is passionate about fitness as well, particularly his younger daughter, who is an avid swimmer and water polo player at her high school.

Peter Bubel also loves to travel when he can. He enjoys visiting local places throughout Pennsylvania, especially his parents’ hometown in Schuylkill County; he also loves to explore other parts of the country and see all of the unique and beautiful scenery and picturesque landscapes that our nation has to offer. Peter Bubel hopes to someday settle in a warmer climate.