The territory that would become Clark was originally a part of several early settlements. The Robinson Plantation House and The Squire Hartshorne House, buildings from the late 17th century, are remnants of the era. The Homestead Farm at Oak Ridge was the site of a skirmish preceding the Battle of Short Hills. In 1858, after the City of Rahway was incorporated, the area of present-day Clark was designated as the 5th Ward of Rahway. Clark was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 23, 1864, from portions of Rahway. The township was named for Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Portions of the township were taken to form Cranford Township (March 14, 1871) and Winfield Township (August 6, 1941).
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Clark as its 33rd best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey. In 2013, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Clark 174th in its rankings of "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
In July 2020, the Union County Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation into the Clark township police department and put the police chief and a captain on administrative leave after allegations of misconduct.
In March 2022, NJ Advance Media, a local newspaper, revealed a recording of Mayor Sal Bonaccorso using racial slurs when talking to members of the police department, despite him having previously denied doing so, and also saying women police officers were "disasters". The newspaper also reported that in January 2020, Clark Township had paid Clark police lieutenant Antonio Manata $400,000 to not reveal racist and sexist comments made by the Mayor and Chief of Police and to turn over the tapes he had recorded. On April 5, Bonaccorso admitted to using "hurtful and insensitive language" and apologized. The New Jersey Office of Public Integrity and Accountability subsequently took control of the Union County investigation
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