The physical environment of the new American city, with its plunging perspectives, its speed, its clattering machine rhythms, and its commercial landscape, helped give birth to American modernism. But it also contained the seeds of an antirnodern reaction that drew artists, writers, and intellectuals back to the nation's regional cultures and landscapes. It propelled them in search of older craft traditions, a premodern built environment, and forms of community life remote from the competitive individualism of the present. As life in the nation's cities eroded a sense of connection with history, a desire to reground identity in inheritance grew stronger. That impulse is the focus of the following chapter.