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Thalwil was originally four Wachten, or hamlets:
- Ludretikon, the oldest hamlet (mentioned in 915), bordering Rüschlikon
- Oberdorf (Upper Village), the area around the church
- Unterdorf (Lower Village), the area roughly south of the railway station
- Langnau am Albis, (which separated from Thalwil around 1713)
In the Middle Ages, most income was made in farming, vineyards and a small amount of fishing on the lake. Thalwil also has the oldest wood corporation in the Canton of Zurich, the Bannegg-Waldung. It was first mentioned in 1483.
Modern day Thalwil
The main source of Thalwil's wealth lies with its 7,000 commuters. These people live in Thalwil, but work in Zurich city. Today, Thalwil has left most of its farming past behind in exchange for a town of commuters, with its public transportation links, low tax and good quality of life.