After the turn of the century fires had destroyed a church and several businesses. Three people died in a fire that destroyed the Collier Hotel in 1905. Around this time, Licking was the site of one of the largest stock shows in the state, with as many as 200 wagons lining the streets for this event.
The telephone became available in 1906 with long distance service not coming until 1926. The first automobile arrived in Licking in July 1911. On April 28, 1938, the first section of line was completed and energized and Licking had electricity. Licking hosts one of the great high school baseball programs in the state of Missouri. The town had eight final-four appearances from 1980 to 2003, seven of which were teams coached by current Drury University assistant baseball coach, Byron Hagler.
There were 647 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 26.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 79.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $17,576, and the median income for a family was $25,625. Males had a median income of $24,643 versus $17,153 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,802. About 20.1% of families and 25.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.4% of those under age 18 and 23.4% of those age 65 or over.