This post complements Ron Broberg's nifty movie of the progress of GHCN stations over the years, and in particular, his decadal stills. I've made KML files for the decade years (1880, 1890,...) of all stations that have records (at least one) in those years, for visualisation in Google Earth. You can read them into GE and see in detail how the network of stations varied over time. These files also have the description balloons etc.
They are in a zip file called KMLGHCNyears.zip on the doc repository. Each is a kmz file. Just click on the file name in a file browser or use "open" in GE.
Earlier posts on KML and GHCN etc: