Thanks Chris and Speedbump for the information. I should have mentioned that the area was an orchard before houses were built on the land. (Many of the trees remain in the neighborhood.) The pipe could have a purpose left over from the orchard days. It does freeze here, though I'm not sure it's bad enough to bury a valve underground. Our main water line shut-off valve (near the meter) is right at ground level. But a valve for a water line or the access point for a well are certainly possibilities. Thanks for your help!
It could be a two inch well. Remove the cap and take a look down the pipe. In Michigan years ago, we called them stand pipes. Below the frostline was a tee heading for the basement of the home where the pump was. It made digging up the well for repair not necessary. We could remove the cap and do repairs through the standpipe.
Are you in an area where it freezes? Could be a stop and waste inside there. If there is a 1/2 or so square metal rod inside it is to turn off your water?
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