Sometime last week the Greenville Cageliner had an article about a new website from the Greenville County GIS Office (http://gis.greenvillesc.gov/historicalimagery/). The website features historical aerial photography imagery as a map, similar to Google Earth. Images are available for 1955, 1965, 1979, 1989, 1997, and 2009, and cover the downtown area, along with a bit of the county. Also included is the Sanford Insurance Map of the city from 1920.
I could spend a HUGE amount of time exploring the site. Looking at how the city has changed over the decades has been fascinating, and somewhat depressing. The patterns of urban sprawl are quite clear at a distance, and it can be sad to look back on landmarks that are no longer there. On the other hand, there have been some marked improvements in areas such as along the banks of the Reedy River, and these images show that very clearly.
I started with the area around the old Furman campus. I had never really understood the location of the old bell tower in relation to the rest of the campus, but this imagery makes it very clear. (Click on the images for a larger view.)