Robin Paul Memorial Mural, Yorba Linda Public Library
In 1958, a ten-year old Yorba Linda girl named Robin Paul, died in a car-related accident. A new public library was being built in Yorba Linda and Robin’s parents asked friends and family to give donations in Robin’s name to the library fund. The library board decided to use the money to commission an original work of art in honor of young Robin. Orange County artist, Allan B. Hall, who was a resident of Yorba Linda at the time, agreed to paint what became in 1959 a 20’ x 12’ mural depicting 200 years of history in Yorba Linda and the region.
The pastel colors of the mural were chosen to blend with the coral shade of the 1958 library building, and suggest a land dominated by sunlight. The mural is a series of vignettes of area history including one with portrayals of Jose Antonio Yorba and the Portola expedition. Citrus, grape and oil industries are represented and a nod to local boy, Richard Nixon, is suggested by the silhouette of the US Capitol building. Nixon was Vice President at the time the mural was undertaken. In a 1970 book about Yorba Linda history, author March Butz describes some of the symbolism in the mural:
“Running through the scene horizontally in the mural is an irregular blue area, representing the Santa Ana River, for many years the source of Yorba Linda’s water supply. A young tree with a single green leaf makes a vertical line to right of center, representing the youth and potential growth of the town.” (Yorba Linda: Its History, by March Butz, 1970)
Allan Hall was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1917. When he was a boy, his family moved to Anaheim, and he would eventually graduate from Anaheim High School. He studied art at Fullerton Junior College, and the University of Southern California. As part of the industrial war effort that came to define Southern California, Allan Hall worked as a lead machinist for Consolidated Steel Corporation in Wilmington. After the war, he became the first Art Director for a small Fullerton company called Pacific Hawaiian Products, developing the branding for Hawaiian Punch that would be used for decades. He designed Disneyland’s first brochure in its first year of operations, and his son, Dean Hall, says that Walt and Roy Disney wanted to hire Hall but negotiations stalled over money. Hall quotes his dad as saying, “If I was going to sit around all day drawing Mickey Mouse, they could damn well meet my price.”
Hall developed a successful freelance graphic design business working with large companies in the region, and winning several national and regional awards. He also taught art at Fullerton College from 1949 to 1954, and was a founder and first Vice President of the Orange County Art Association. Hall’s office and studio were in Fullerton. Through the 1960s he had a small office in the Villa del Sol, the former California Hotel. The studio he designed and built on his own property in Fullerton still stands, at 205 N. Woods.
The current site of the Yorba Linda Public Library has been sold and is being redeveloped. The library will be moved in 2020 to a new library and arts center that is now being built. The city has not included the mural in its future plans, and by the summer of 2020, it will have to be removed or demolished with the building. The family of Allan Hall wishes to see the mural preserved, and is reaching out to museums and organizations throughout the region to find a new, permanent home. The mural was last restored in 1992 and today is deemed to be in poor to moderate condition.
Photographs of Allan Hall in front of the mural, c. 1959, and of the studio he built courtesy of Dean Hall.