The bluffs west of Echo Park Lake are dominated by a sweeping chunk of 1970s architecture, the Lago Vista Apartments designed and built by architect Allyn E. Morris. The crescent-shaped building – now a condo complex – has a following among fans of mid-century architecture and was the site of an open house this weekend for a two-bedroom unit. This hilltop temple to 1970s modernism (pictured top right) was once home to a shrine of a different sort: the home, offices and lecture halls of A. Victor Segno and his Segno School for Success (pictured top left). Here, in 1904, Segno – who was, depending on who you spoke to, either a gifted “mentalist” or con artist – built a Spanish-Moorish-style compound of concrete topped by domes and a giant globe, according to the Echo Park Historical Society. While he published a great many books and pamphlets, including one titled “How to be Happy Though Married,” one of Segno’s most well known products was the sale of $1″brain waves” guaranteed to generate success for their buyers. Segno would send out the brain or thought waves from his compound, perched on the bluff he called Inspiration Point.
Segno lived at Inspiration point only a few years, fleeing the city and abandoning his wife following an affair with his secretary. Perhaps the seller of the Vista Lago condo can find a left over Segno brain wave and think hard of a quick sale for the $349,000 unit.
Top left photo from Echo Park Historical Society;
top right photo from TheMLS.com-CurbedLA