The Crooked House, near Dudley, once known as “Britain’s wonkiest pub”, caught fire on Saturday night.
Staffordshire Police and the fire service are trying to establish the cause.
Up to 30 firefighters were called to the building at about 22:00 BST on Saturday, with flames mostly extinguished by Sunday morning.
Photos emerged on social media on Monday afternoon showing a large pile of rubble where the pub once stood, shocking locals and former customers.
The property was built in 1765 as a farmhouse but, due to mining in the area during the early 19th Century, one side of the building began to sink.
The property was a popular attraction in the West Midlands for decades after Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries bought it and converted it into a pub in the 1940s.
Visitors flocked to see the distinctive building and witness the illusion of coins and marbles appearing to roll uphill along the bar.
Video from 1974 (which is when I visited it):
Marston’s listed it for sale in March with a guide price of £675,000. The move was met with a public petition to keep the site as a pub.
Last month, it was confirmed the previous owner Marston’s had sold the Black Country landmark to a private buyer. The sale of the property “as a going concern” was completed two weeks ago.
So far, so good … but:
Former Labour MP for Dudley North, Lord Ian Austin, an independent peer, tweeted it emerged during Saturday’s events the “lane to the pub” was “apparently blocked”. Such circumstances appeared to be corroborated by comments from a firefighter.
Station commander Liam Hilton of Staffordshire Fire Service said “[there were] mounds of mud and soil placed in the centre of the road and covering the whole of [it]”, which meant, he added, that appliances could not gain direct access to the incident.
It is not yet clear who demolished the pub.
Det Insp Richard Dancey, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This incident has caused a great deal of speculation locally and we understand the significance of the building within the local community.”
That’s really sad and if “speculation” is confirmed then I will be very, very angry …