DTE has more than two million electricity customers, and to serve them it owns more than one million power poles. Almost all are indistinguishable from the ones used when it was founded as the Detroit Edison Co. in 1903: just very large tree trunks, stuck in the ground and draped with wires.

So what explains the gigantic, flat-sided pole across from the U-M’s Yost Ice Arena at the corner of State and Dewey? Does it have more wires–or more important wires–than any other pole in Ann Arbor?

A web search identifies it as an “engineered laminated wood” pole. Glued together from strips of lumber, they’re stronger than poles made from a single tree trunk. “This particular pole at State and Dewey requires guying [with wires to keep it from bending], but because we were unable to guy in the direction needed, we used a laminate pole,” a DTE spokesperson emails. The spokesperson couldn’t confirm a supposition that the reinforced pole marks this as the most challenging site in town.