What Does Frankenpine Mean?

Frankenpine is the name given to a cell phone tower that is camouflaged to resemble a pine tree. Efforts to disguise the steel tower include painting its base brown and attaching fake branches to it.


Techopedia Explains Frankenpine

The term Frankenpine first garnered public attention in 2004 when the Adirondack Council, a nonprofit organization working to protect the Adirondack Park, gave a proposed tower this name.

Located in northeast New York, Adirondack Park is a publicly protected area and the largest National Historic Landmark. The area is overseen by the state Adirondack Park Agency (APA), which at that time, approved a permit for Nextel Partners Inc. to erect a 114-foot tower tapering up from a 7-foot-wide base. Part of Nextel’s proposal was for the tower to be shaped and camouflaged as a pine tree so that it would blend in with the forested area of the park where it was to be built.

However, members of the Adirondack Council opposed the APA’s decision and pointed out that a disguised cell tower still would “not look like any tree on this planet,” thus giving rise to the term Frankenpine.

To date, these faux trees, which have taken the form not only of pine trees but also of Douglas firs and palm trees, can be found across the United States. The cost of building a Frankenpine is estimated to be in the range of $40,000 to $100,000, or 10 times the cost of building a normal cell tower.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…