dillingham was originally inhabited by the yup'ik people. in 1818, the russian-american company built a trading post at nushagak point across the river from present-day dillingham. the post was named "alexandrovski" and it attracted fur traders from kuskokwim, the alaska peninsula, and the cook inlet. in 1881, the u.s. singal corps built a weather station at the post. in 1901, a cannery was built in present-day dillingham's city central. it burned down in 1910 but was rebuilt the following year and was acquired by th pacific american fisheries in 1929. it is now known as peter pan seafoods and is still in operation.a courthouse was built in 1903 and named after u.s. senator william paul dillingham of vermont, though he had never set foot in dillingham. the post office adopted the name soon followed by the community. dillingham became incorporated as a city in 1963.