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Virginia City, Nev., deliberately stuck in a time warp, gets wi-fi and an app

Virginia City, Nev., deliberately stuck in a time warp, gets wi-fi and an app
Deke DiMarzo, a docent portraying a 19th centurylawman, chats with tourists in historic Virginia City, Nev. With spotty cell phone service, Wi-fi and a new app is providing visitors with info on the one-time mining town. ) (Jay Jones)

Wi-fi has arrived Virginia City, Nev., a historic mining town that is stuck — deliberately — in an 1850s time warp.

Virginia City sits at 6,200 feet about 25 miles southeast of Reno, and its cell service has been spotty. Until now, smartphones have been good mostly for taking pictures.

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But now you can join the 20th century, perhaps even downloading the free Virginia City app, courtesy of the town's tourism commission.

The "Virginia City Nevada" app, available for iOS and Android, provides information for visitors as they amble along C Street, the main drag filled with shops, restaurants and museums

The discovery of millions of dollars' worth of gold and silver in 1859 lured prospectors to Virginia City. At its peak, the town had 28,000 residents. It was here that reporter Samuel Clemens, writing for the local  Territorial Enterprise, first used "Mark Twain" as his byline.

In 1875, a fire burned 33 blocks, destroying Virginia City's downtown.

By the 1880s, the mines had played out. In the 2010 census, its population was 855. The town, with the remnants of its glorious past, is a national historic district, where you can find such establishments as the Bucket of Blood saloon (rebuilt after the fire) and St. Mary in the Mountains Church (mostly destroyed in the fire).

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